Close Your Eyes Lionel Loueke, Reuben Rogers & Eric Harland
- 2It Might as Well Be Spring06:41
- 4Moon River04:15
- 6Blue Monk06:24
- 7Body and Soul04:38
- 8Close Your Eyes07:44
- 10We See05:26
Info for Close Your Eyes
Lionel Loueke, one of the jazz world’s most searingly original and sought-after guitarists, has devoted the bulk of his output to original music. But Close Your Eyes, originally released on vinyl by Newvelle in 2018, found the Benin-born Loueke focusing entirely on standards and canonical jazz classics. Joined by the marquee rhythm section of bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland (known for their inspired teamwork in groups led by Charles Lloyd, Aaron Goldberg and more), Loueke applied his distinctive rhythmic and harmonic approach to material from the Great American Songbook as well as the oeuvre of jazz greats John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. Now, thanks to Sounderscore Records, an independent label founded by Loueke’s longtime Gilfema bandmate Massimo Biolcati, Close Your Eyes is being issued for the first time digitally.
Three additional songs not featured on the vinyl release — John Coltrane’s “Countdown,” Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark” and Thelonious Monk’s “We See” — are also now available for the first time on the Sounderscore reissue.
Lionel Loueke, guitar, vocals
Reuben Rogers, double bass
Eric Harland, drums
Starting out on vocals and percussion, Lionel Loueke picked up the guitar late, at age 17. After his initial to exposure to jazz in Benin, he left to attend the National Institute of Art in nearby Ivory Coast. In 1994 he left Africa to pursue jazz studies at the American School of Modern Music in Paris, then went to the U.S. on a scholarship to Berklee College of Music. From there, Loueke gained acceptance to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, where he encountered his Gilfema bandmates Biolcati, Nemeth, Parlato and other musicians with whom he would form lasting creative relationships.
In 2008 and 2009, Lionel Loueke was picked as top Rising Star guitarist in DownBeat magazine's annual Critics Poll.
Praised by his mentor Herbie Hancock as "a musical painter," Lionel 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. JazzTimes wrote "Loueke's lines are smartly formed and deftly executed. His ear-friendly melodicism draws both from traditional African sources and a lifetime of closely studying the likes of Jim Hall and George Benson, and his rhythmic shifts come quickly and packed with surprises."
After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Lionel Loueke was accepted to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles where he had the opportunity to study his greatest mentors: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard.
Soon after his time at the Monk Institute, Lionel Loueke began focusing exclusively on nylon-string acoustic guitar, an instrument on which he's developed a signature voice.
Lionel Loueke released his first album In a Trance (2005) on Space Time Label, then three albums on Obliqsound Label as a leader (Virgin Forest - 2006) and with Gilfema (Gilfema - 2005, Gilfema + 2 - 2008)
His first release on Blue Note Label Karibu (2008), featuring the trio with Hancock and Wayne Shorter as special guests, won widespread critical praise.
His sophomore release for Blue Note, Mwaliko (2010), followed up acclaimed Karibu offered a series of searching, innovative, intimate duets with Angelique Kidjo, Esperanza Spalding, Richard Bona and Marcus Gilmore - artists and allies who continue to have a profound impact on Loueke's vision as a bandleader.
Hailed as a "gentle virtuoso" by Jon Pareles of The New York Times, guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke follows up with Heritage (released in August 2012), co-produced by piano great and Blue Note label mate Robert Glasper. Lionel Loueke, long known for his nylon-string acoustic guitar, releases here a more electric album.
In 2015, Loueke chose to record Gaía, his remarkable rock-infused fourth Blue Note album, live in the studio with an intimate audience in attendance.
Loueke has appeared on numerous standout recordings such as Terence Blanchard’s Grammy-nominated Flow (2005) and Hancock’s Grammy-winning River: The Joni Letters (2008). Lionel appeared on recordings by such legends as Jack DeJohnette (Sound Travels), Charlie Haden (Land of the Sun), Kenny Barron (The Traveler) and Gonzalo Rubalcaba (XXI Century). He has also appeared on recordings by Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, Gretchen Parlato, Avishai Cohen, Kendrick Scott and other leading peers.
He has also toured the world as a member of Hancock’s band for more than ten years and starts touring with Chick Corea this year after recording his last album to be released.
Lionel Loueke is also a member of Blue Note’s 75th anniversary all-star band with Robert Glasper, Derrick Hodge, Kendrick Scott, Ambrose Akinmusire and Marcus Strickland.
These experiences all inform Loueke's extraordinary work as a leader.
This album contains no booklet.