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Lionel Loueke : Heritage

It’s nearly impossible to overstate the stamp that Robert Glasper-as producer and as keyboardist on six of the 10 tracks-places on Beninese label mate Lionel Loueke’s third outing for Blue Note. Glasper’s penchant for obscuring the lines between contemporary and traditional finds a welcoming home in the work of the unceasingly exploratory guitarist Loueke.

On two of three songs Glasper had a hand in writing, “Tribal Dance” and “Hope”-both of which also feature frequent Loueke collaborator Gretchen Parlato on vocals-it’s Glasper who provides, respectively, the whispery, CTI-like retro-ness and the sweeping orchestral coloring. On the latter, Loueke is in a progressively swinging groove, Glasper sweetening the spaces with faux strings, when a cymbal crash shatters the air. From out of nowhere comes a spoken-word interlude, Loueke’s seductive monologue feeling Barry White even while his guitar feels Metheny.

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