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Guitarist Lionel Loueke Signs with Blue Note

Jazz guitarist Lionel Loueke, currently a member of Herbie Hancock’s touring band, recently signed with Blue Note Records to release his first major-label album. Loueke will open Blue Note Records’ Somethin’ Else Jazz Club at Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tenn., on June 14 with a solo set. He will continue touring this summer and then enter the studio in September to begin recording, with an album release planned for early 2008.

A native of Benin, Africa, Loueke studied music in Paris before coming to the U.S. to continue his studies, first at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and then at the University of Southern California’s Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in L.A. It was at the Monk Institute where Loueke first met Hancock as well as Terence Blanchard, playing in the latter’s sextet while still in school and appearing on Blanchard’s first two albums for Blue Note, 2003’s Bounce and 2005’s Flow. Loueke has also already released several independent solo recordings, including two on the label Obliqsound and one on Space Time.

Loueke also recently started a relationship with Paul Reed Smith Guitars, and has been playing a Hollowbody II model with a Piezo system at his recent concerts. In other news, the Jazz Journalists Association nominated him for Up & Coming Musician of the Year as part of their 2007 Jazz Awards. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony later this month in New York City.

Originally Published