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(Published: August 02, 2012)

The acclaimed West African jazz guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke has announced Fall U.S. tour dates in support of Heritage, his dynamic third Blue Note album, which was co-produced by label mate Robert Glasper and will be released on August 28. Loueke will celebrate the album's release in New York City with 3 nights at Manhattan's Blue Note Jazz Club September 4-6 with Glasper as special guest. The tour will also bring Loueke to Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, and Washington DC. Loueke will also perform twice this weekend at the Newport Jazz Festival, as part of the Jack DeJohnette All-Stars on Saturday and collaborating with vocalists Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens on Sunday.

Aug. 4-5 - Newport Jazz Festival - Newport, RI
Sept. 4-6 - Blue Note Jazz Club - New York, NY
Oct. 11 - Garde Arts Center - New London, CT
Oct. 12 - Regattabar - Boston, MA
Oct. 13 - Vermont Jazz Center - Brattleboro, VT
Oct. 18 - Kuumbwa Jazz - Santa Cruz, CA
Oct. 19 - Dazzle Jazz - Denver, CO
Oct. 20 - Vitello's - Los Angeles, CA
Oct. 21 - Earshot Festival @ Seattle Art Museum - Seattle, WA
Oct. 25-28 - Jazz Showcase - Chicago, IL
Nov. 2 - KC Jazz Club - Washington DC

* * *

Heritage finds Loueke-who was hailed by The New York Times as "a gentle virtuoso"-exploring a more electric sound with a new trio featuring Derrick Hodge on electric bass and Mark Guiliana on drums. The album presents seven new compositions by Loueke, two by Glasper, and one co-written by the two. Glasper also contributes piano and keyboards to six tracks, while Parlato provides background vocals on two tracks.

A veteran of bands led by Terence Blanchard and Herbie Hancock, Loueke is bringing jazz into vibrant contact with the sounds of West Africa, in particular his native Benin. The title 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. I called this album Heritage because I've been blessed by all different parts of the world, and most of the songs reflect that."

Praised by Hancock as "a musical painter," Loueke combines harmonic complexity, soaring melody, a deep knowledge of African folk forms, and conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own. His 2008 Blue Note debut Karibu featured guest appearances from Hancock and Wayne Shorter and was met with wide acclaim. TIME magazine wrote that "Karibu is a jamboree of sprung rhythms, splashed with African and Brazilian flavors, in which Loueke scat-sings, drums on his guitar, mouth-clicks and plays some wicked jazz."

His second Blue Note release, Mwaliko, offered a series of searching, intimate duets with Angelique Kidjo, Richard Bona, Esperanza Spalding and Marcus Gilmore - artists and allies who continue to have a profound impact on Loueke's vision as a bandleader. In addition to three previous albums with Gilfema (Gilfema, Virgin Forest, Gilfema + 2), Loueke has appeared on Blanchard's Grammy-nominated Flow (2005) and Hancock's Grammy-winning River: The Joni Letters (2008). He has also toured the world as a member of Hancock's band and appeared on recordings by such legends as Jack DeJohnette (Sound Travels), Charlie Haden (Land of the Sun), Kenny Barron (The Traveler) and Gonzalo Rubalcaba (XXI Century). He has also recorded with Esperanza Spalding (Radio Music Society), Gretchen Parlato (In a Dream), Avishai Cohen (After the Big Rain), Kendrick Scott (Source) and other leading peers.

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