An Evening Of Superb Jazz Guitar
Since 2010 when I saw Lionel Loueke (pronounced lee-uh-nel lou-ek-e) perform as part of Herbie Hancock’s band, I have wanted to see him play his own music. My patience was rewarded last week when I saw his trio at Regattabar.
I knew he is an excellent guitarist, but it is on his own material that Lionel truly shines. Hailing from the West African country of Benin, Lionel is different from many musicians from West Africa who play desert blues. Lionel writes and performs jazz although I can hear some influence from his country of origin.
His trio consists of Massimo Biolcati on bass and Nate Smith on drums. It was only Nate’s second performance with the trio, but he sounded as if he had been playing with them for years.
Lionel plays a head-less guitar; while it is not the first time I have seen one, I have never seen one from ten feet away! Massimo plays the most unusual bass I have seen; the body of it is very small and the neck seemed much shorter than usual (although it could have been an optical illusion since the body is small). Nate plays a traditional drum kit…
Touring in support of the most recent release, Gaia, their set consisted mostly, if not exclusively, of numbers from it. While Lionel does sing a bit (it sounded like he sang in one of the African ‘click’ languages on one number), his music is primarily instrumental. Had I not been sitting in the front row, I would have closed my eyes and let the music transport me.
Some of my friends do not enjoy jazz; a few because they enjoy lyrics-driven songs and others because they find jazz inaccessible. I suggest that they – and any of you who do not like jazz – listen to Lionel because he makes beautiful music.
Thanks to Regattabar for the ticket; all opinions are my own.
Posted on January 19, 2016, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged African jazz, Benin, boston, concert photos, concert review, jazz music, Lionel Loueke, Massimo Biolcati, Nate Smith, Regattabar. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.