SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21, SEATTLE ART MUSEUM PLESTCHEEFF AUDITORIUM, 7:30PM
Lionel Loueke Trio
Dos y Mas
$24 general/$22 Earshot members & seniors/$12 students BUY NOW · RSVP on facebook
Hailed as a “gentle virtuoso” by the New York Times, guitarist and vocalist Lionel Loueke followed up his acclaimed Blue Note releases Karibu (2008) and Mwaliko (2010) with the extraordinary Heritage, released in August of this year. Co-produced by pianist and label mate Robert Glasper, Heritage finds Loueke in top form.
A veteran of bands led by Terence Blanchard and Herbie Hancock, Loueke brings jazz into vibrant contact with the sounds of West Africa, in particular, his native Benin. Starting out on vocals and percussion, Loueke picked up the guitar at age 17. After his initial exposure to jazz in Benin, he left to attend the National Institute of Art in nearby Ivory Coast. In 1994, he left Africa to pursue jazz studies at the American School of Modern Music in Paris, then came to the U.S. on a scholarship to Berklee. From there, Loueke gained acceptance to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, where he encountered his Gilfema (ObliqSound, 2005) release bandmates – bassist Massimo Biolcati, drummer Ferenc Nemeth, vocalist feature Gretchen Parlato – and musicians with whom he would form creative relationships.
The title of his latest recording, Heritage, is a direct reference to his personal odyssey. “I have two heritages,” Loueke says. “One is from my ancestors from Africa, and that goes through my music, my body, my soul, every aspect of what I do. But also I have the heritage from the Occident, from the West, from Europe and the U.S. I speak English, I speak French, and I have that heritage too.”
While Heritage finds Loueke performing with a larger ensemble at times, he remains explosive in the trio context with bassist Biolcati and drummer Nemeth.
Elio Villafranca and Arturo Stable, two Cuban-born maestros of jazz and world music, unveiled Dos y Mas, their debut recording of their exquisite new piano and percussion collaboration, on Motéma Music, January 2012.
Villafranca and Stable have developed loyal followings both as leaders and for their work with many of the world’s top musicians, including Wynton Marsalis, Pat Martino, Johnny Pacheco, John Faddis, Billy Harper, Esperanza Spalding, Lionel Loueke and Paquito d’Rivera.
Both artists are avid and creative educators who are as in demand as lecturers at universities as they are as performers at festivals, clubs and cultural centers. Villafranca is a resident professor at Temple University, while Stable teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he designed their unique hand percussion major of study.
Stable says, “Working with Elio is a very rewarding experience. He is always open to new ideas and to taking risks, musically speaking. I love that, because it means the music can always take a new direction. We share similar backgrounds culturally and musically, so the connection between us was there since the beginning. I always feel I learn something new when we perform together.”
Villafranca agrees, “Arturo’s musicality and ability to play many different hand drum instruments with facility, elevated my playing and my interpretation of his playing. Together we have arrived a new musical dimension.”