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The Jazz Bakery
Los Angeles, CA
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Massimo Biolcati bass; Ferenc Nemeth drums
Mr. Loueke is a gentle virtuoso. As a singer, he has a husky, sincere baritone and a melting falsetto that he uses to scat-sing along with his guitar solos. Hes also a full-fledged jazz guitarist, and he uses both electronicsguitar synthesizer, looping devicesand African roots. In one piece, unassisted by any technology beyond microphone and amplifier, he sang, made percussive tongue clicks and played syncopated guitar chords and leads. He multiplied himself, one way or another, in nearly every song. Jon Pareles of The New York Times.
Louekes story begins in Benin, a small country in West Africa, music was part of everyday life". When Loueke was 17 years old, his brother let him pick up his guitar, and he quickly realized that he had a great facility for the instrument. Besides the Afro-Pop music that he heard his brother performing, Loueke also began to be enamored with the traditional African music of Benin, as well as Nigeria, Congo, Zaire, Mali and Senegal. However, it was an encounter with Jazz music that would set Loueke on a different course. A friend of his brothers came to visit from Paris, bringing with him a CD of guitarist George Benson. I listened to that and it was unreal for me. I had to transcribe every single line trying to play like him. Then I tried to check out what happened before him, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass.

In 1994, Loueke left Africa and moved to Paris to pursue Jazz studies, enrolling at the American School of Modern Music, a small conservatory run by several alumni of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduation, Loueke was awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee, and so he left Paris and moved to the United States. It was at Berklee that he first met Massimo Biolcati and Ferenc Nemeth, the musicians who would become his core band. Through jam sessions, the trio developed an immediate rapport, in part fueled by internationalism. Biolcati is of Italian decent, but grew up in Sweden, while Nemeth was born and raised in Hungary. Both had extensively studied African music and were drawn to Loueke who was just beginning to fuse a Jazz technique with his African roots.

After graduating from Berklee, Loueke was accepted to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles along with Biolcati and Nemeth. The Monk Institute is a selective program that allows students to study and perform with some of the finest Jazz musicians in the world, including three legends that would nurture Louekes burgeoning talent and become his greatest mentors: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard. I flipped, says Hancock, recalling the moment he first heard Louekes audition tape. Id never heard any guitar player play anything close to what I was hearing from him. There was no territory that was forbidden, and he was fearless!

Before even graduating from the Monk Institute, Loueke began touring in Blanchards sextet, a highly-creative band that recorded two albums for Blue Note (Bounce and Flow) and allowed Loueke to begin expressing his own voice as a soloist and composer. Since leaving Blanchards band he has been hired by Hancock and become a prominent member of the pianists current quartet, touring extensively and recording on Hancocks Grammy-nominated album, River: The Joni Letters (Verve). Loueke has also recorded two albums under his name for independent labels, In A Trance (Space Time) and Virgin Forest (ObliqSound), as well as the collective Gilfema (ObliqSound) with Biolcati and Nemeth.


The Jazz Bakery
Los Angeles, CA 90034
United States



Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No