A brilliant and highly original guitarist from the West African country of Benin, Lionel Loueke has already gained fame during a relatively brief period of time. An older brother played guitar professionally but Loueke was already 17 before he started. While interested in Afro-pop music, he discovered jazz through a George Benson record and was soon exploring Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass. Loueke attended the National Institute of Art in the Ivory Coast, worked regularly in local clubs, and in 1994 moved to Paris to study jazz at the American School of Modern Music. After graduating, he was awarded a scholarship at Berklee and moved to the United States. At Berklee Loueke formed a trio with fellow students bassist Massimo Biolcati and drummer Ferenc Nemeth both of whom are in his longtime trio.
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