Lionel Loueke
Lionel Loueke


Julius Nyang’oro is a respected New York consultant who focuses on African economies and political trends as a member of Global Growth Advisors. Passionate about music, Julius Nyang’oro plays the guitar and has a particular interest in contemporary jazz.

One of the most influential jazz guitarists of the past decade has been Benin-raised Lionel Loueke, who pursued music studies at the National Institute of Art in Ivory Coast and subsequently studied in Paris and at Berklee Music School in Boston. In the 1990s, he achieved entrance to the Thelonious Monk Institute and studied closely with mentors such as Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock.

Finding prominence in the latter artist’s combos in the early 2000s, Loueke became known for expanding the frontiers of jazz through an immersive knowledge of African folk traditions. His 2008 debut, Karibu, featured work with mentors Shorter and Hancock, while 2010’s Mwaliko emphasized the intimacy of duets with Esperanza Spalding and Richard Bona, among others.

Lionel Loueke’s most recent Blue Note album GAIA was recorded with an audience live in the studio, with an emphasis on enabling improvisatory “raw energy.” Focused on the impact humans have on the earth, songs channel guitar pioneers such as Jimi Hendrix in his Band of Gypsies era.