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 Loueke’s burgeoning talent and become his greatest mentors: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard. “I flipped,” says Hancock, recalling the moment he first heard Loueke’s audition tape. “I’d 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 Blanchard’s 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 Blanchard’s band he has been hired by Hancock and become a prominent member of the pianist’s current quartet, touring extensively and recording on Hancock’s 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.
Read the article in the German Magazin 'Jazzpodium' , written by Alexander Schmitz
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