Mwaliko by Lionel Loueke Out Now

Originally from the small West African nation of Benin, guitarist Lionel Loueke has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past several years. Praised by his mentor Herbie Hancock as “a musical painter,” Loueke combines harmonic sophistication, soaring melody, a deep knowledge of African music, and conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own.

Lionel Loueke’s sophomore release for Blue Note, Mwaliko, follows up 2007′s acclaimed Karibu with a series of searching, innovative, intimate duets with Angelique Kidjo, Esperanza Spalding, Richard Bona and Marcus Gilmore. Mwaliko (pronounced mwah-LEE-koh) is Swahili for “invitation,” and as Loueke explains, “you can see the title two ways. One is I’m inviting my friends and fellow musicians to make these duo recordings, and the other is an invitation to all listeners to enjoy the music.”

Lionel Loueke with Esperanza Spalding – “Twins”
 

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2010 New York City Winter Jazzfest This Weekend

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Celebrating its 6th anniversary, the NYC Winter Jazzfest is taking over the West Village this weekend, on Friday, Jan. 8th and Saturday, Jan. 9th. Showcasing over 40 of the best jazz and experimental artists, at five of the neighborhood’s most esteemed venues, boomBOOM Presents is bringing jazz fans back to what was once considered the heart of New York City’s jazz scene. In line with the festival’s mission to promote and present the best of the young and current jazz scene, this year’s installment will open with two showcases on Friday, Jan. 8th, curated by special guests Meghan Stabile of Revive Da Live and Adam Schatz of Search and Restore, at Kenny’s Castaways and Zinc Bar, respectively.

The festival will present live music from New York, New Orleans, Chicago, South Africa, Canada, France, and more, by their very best talent, including Nicholas Payton SeXXXtet, Bitches Brew Revisited, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Marco Benevento, Chris Dave, Jason Moran, Jenny Scheinman, Lionel Loueke, Somi, and many more. Grab your passes now and enjoy one the city’s best festivals.

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The Terence Blanchard Group’s Choices

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The new CD from three-time Grammy award winning trumpet player and composer Terence Blanchard was recorded in March 2008 in Blanchard’s hometown of New Orleans at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Choices addresses the choices we all make in life – both as a society and on a personal level. “Life is all about expansion and evolution. We make choices every day, none of which are right or wrong. They are simply choices that allow us to explore the variety of what’s before us.” — Terence Blanchard

Accompanying Blanchard on the album are longstanding band members Fabian Almazan on piano, Derrick Hodge on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums, along with newcomer Walter Smith lll on saxophone, all of whom wrote significant track contributions to the CD as well. Guest artists include writer, speaker, educator and activist Dr. Cornel West, critically-acclaimed guitarist and Blanchard protégé Lionel Louke, and singer, musician and composer Bilal. West performs spoken word pieces on the album with Bilal providing vocals on several of the tracks.

Choices was premiered at a series of concerts at the Ogden in late July 2009 which were filmed for an upcoming documentary. It will also be accompanied by a worldwide tour featuring Terence and his band.

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