North Bergen, NJ
Lionel Loueke is an acclaimed jazz guitarist and vocalist known for his distinctive style combining traditional African sounds with technical mastery and contemporary influences. Raised in Benin, Loueke moved to Ivory Coast in 1990 to study at the National Institute of Art, and, from 1994–98, attended the American School of Modern Music in Paris. In 1999, he was awarded a scholarship to Berklee College of Music, receiving a degree in 2000. The next year, a jury of Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Terence Blanchard accepted Loueke into the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz at USC. He has recorded two CDs under his own name and two CDs with his trio.