15 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Having embraced a more aggressive electric sound on such Blue Note albums as Gaïa and Heritage, Beninese singer/guitarist Lionel Loueke takes a subdued and intimate turn on The Journey, harking back to the tender melodies and explicit West African influences of his earlier work. The sonic palette is no less imaginative, however; the songs, in their sparse and atmospheric flavor, center around the affecting spiritual cry of Loueke’s vocals, the springy rhythmic attack of his nylon-string guitar, and the ethereal, signal-processed aura of his electric. Producer Robert Sadin ushers in a cast of collaborators including bassist Pino Palladino, percussionists Cyro Baptista and Christi Joza Orisha, classical clarinetist Patrick Messina, improvising violinist Mark Feldman, and traditional peul flutist Dramane Dembélé in a continuously shifting lineup. There’s also a social undercurrent, particularly on “Vi Gnin” (“My Child”), concerning war and displacement—a timely acknowledgement that art can speak to the ills that threaten many around the globe.

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Having embraced a more aggressive electric sound on such Blue Note albums as Gaïa and Heritage, Beninese singer/guitarist Lionel Loueke takes a subdued and intimate turn on The Journey, harking back to the tender melodies and explicit West African influences of his earlier work. The sonic palette is no less imaginative, however; the songs, in their sparse and atmospheric flavor, center around the affecting spiritual cry of Loueke’s vocals, the springy rhythmic attack of his nylon-string guitar, and the ethereal, signal-processed aura of his electric. Producer Robert Sadin ushers in a cast of collaborators including bassist Pino Palladino, percussionists Cyro Baptista and Christi Joza Orisha, classical clarinetist Patrick Messina, improvising violinist Mark Feldman, and traditional peul flutist Dramane Dembélé in a continuously shifting lineup. There’s also a social undercurrent, particularly on “Vi Gnin” (“My Child”), concerning war and displacement—a timely acknowledgement that art can speak to the ills that threaten many around the globe.

Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
6 Ratings
6 Ratings

Now That's an Album!!

kwagye

Great Album! No one represents West African rhythms in Jazz better than Leo. There are a lot of tracks on here that I really like. Play them at dawn. Oui! I wish Richard Bona would put out an instrumental album of West African rhythms with his guitars speaking. Awo! BTW, whatever happened to Gilfema?

Fantastic!!

AKStephan

One of Africa's living music icons. Fantastic album!

Outer

Das Boone

Outernational music - fine stuff.

About Lionel Loueke

West African guitarist Lionel Loueke was inspired by his brother, who taught him how to play during his late teenage years. Stops at the Ivory Coast's National Institute of Arts, Paris' American School of More Than Music, and Berklee College of Music led Loueke to appearances on a series of high-profile recordings, including Terence Blanchard's Bounce and Flow, Charlie Haden's Land of the Sun, and Herbie Hancock's Possibilities. Apart from his role in the trio Gilfema (with bassist Massimo Biolcati and drummer Ferenc Nemeth), Loueke has recorded on his own, including the live In a Trance and Virgin Forest. He released his first Blue Note album, Karibu, in 2008. In 2009, Loueke guested on Magos Herrera's album Distancia. His second album for Blue Note, Mwaliko, appeared in early 2010. In 2012, Loueke released the trio album Heritage, which was produced by and features contributions from acclaimed jazz pianist Robert Glasper.

On Gaïa, his fourth album, Loueke continued use of the electric guitar exclusively. He explored expansive notions of African rock and jazz with Biolcati and Nemeth. The album was recorded in front of an invited studio audience, fulfilling the guitarist's wish to capture the band in a concert setting. The album was released by Blue Note at the end of October in 2015. ~ Andy Kellman

HOMETOWN
Benin
GENRE
Jazz
BORN
April 27, 1973

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