On March 25, guitarist Lionel Loueke will make his Blue Note Records debut with Karibu, a stunning album that takes its title from a Swahili word meaning “welcome." It's a fitting name, as the opening title track invites the listener into the musical world of one of the most distinctive new voices in Jazz. Featuring Loueke's long-standing trio of bassist Massimo Biolcati and drummer Ferenc Nemeth, Karibu is also graced by rare guest appearances by two legends: pianist Herbie Hancock and saxophonist Wayne Shorter.
Loueke is also featured on Hancock's recent album, River: The Joni Letters (Verve Music Group), a tribute to Joni Mitchell which was just awarded “Album of the Year" at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. The album also features Jazz legends like Shorter and Dave Holland, as well as superb guest vocalists including Mitchell herself, Norah Jones, Tina Turner, and Corinne Bailey Rae.
Loueke will also be touring again this summer as a member of Hancock's quartet and also featured as the opening act, including a June 23 performance at Carnegie Hall in New York for the JVC Jazz Festival, and an extensive run of European tour dates from late June through early August.
Loueke and Hancock first met when he decided to audition for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz where the pianist was a teacher. “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!"
After several years of touring and recording with trumpeter Terence Blanchard, who was also a teacher at the Monk Institute, Loueke joined Hancock and has been a part of his regular band ever since. Loueke signed with Blue Note Records in 2007, the same label which released Hancock's own auspicious 1962 debut, Takin' Off, as well as his other early classics including Maiden Voyage and Speak Like a Child.
Click here to check out the Karibu digital player and a video about the making the album.
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