Lionel Loueke Trio
Part of: Angélique Kidjo Perspectives
Lionel Loueke, Vocals and Guitar
Massimo Biolcati, Bass
Ferenc Nemeth, Drums
Cyro Baptista, Percussion
and Special Guest
Event DurationThe concert will last approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.
Late Nights at Zankel Hall
Join us for a pre-concert drink at the Parterre Bar in Zankel Hall before concerts that start at 9 PM or later.
Lionel Loueke picked up the guitar at age 17. After his initial exposure to jazz in Benin, he studied at the Ivory Coast’s National Institute of Arts. In 1994, he left Africa to pursue jazz at the American School of Modern Music in Paris before coming to the US on a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music. It was there that he first encountered his future trio mates, Massimo Biolcati and Ferenc Nemeth. After graduating, Loueke was accepted to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, where he studied with his most significant mentors: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Terence Blanchard.
Praised by Hancock as “a musical painter,” Loueke combines harmonic complexity, soaring melody, a deep knowledge of African folk forms, and conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own. His 2008 debut on Blue Note Records, Karibu, featured guest appearances by Hancock and Shorter, and was met with wide acclaim. Two years later, Mwaliko offered a series of intimate duets with Angélique Kidjo, Richard Bona, Esperanza Spalding, and Marcus Gilmore. Co-produced by label mate Robert Glasper, 2012’s Heritage found Loueke exploring a more electric sound with a new trio that featured Derrick Hodge on electric bass and Mark Guiliana on drums. His latest release, GAÏA, was recorded live in the studio with Biolcati and Nemeth, produced by Blue Note president and Grammy-winning producer Don Was.
In addition to albums with Gilfema—his collective trio with Biolcati and Nemeth—Loueke has appeared on recordings by Hancock, Blanchard, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Kenny Barron, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Joe Lovano, as well as contemporaries Spalding, Gretchen Parlato, Kendrick Scott, and others. He continues to tour the world with his own trio as well as with Hancock, and most recently with Chick Corea. Loueke is also a member of Blue Note’s 75th anniversary Blue Note All-Stars with Glasper, Hodge, Scott, Ambrose Akinmusire, and Marcus Strickland.
Bassist Massimo Biolcati embodies 21st-century jazz’s creative reach. A first-call accompanist, producer, composer, and bandleader, he is known as a founding member of Gilfema, the acclaimed collective trio with Ferenc Nemeth and Lionel Loueke. They have also recorded three albums for Blue Note Records as the Lionel Loueke Trio, including Karibu with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock.
Growing up in Sweden and Italy, Biolcati first started performing jazz at age 16 in Turin. After studying classical and jazz bass while playing at festivals and clubs around northern Italy, he returned to Stockholm to further his craft. In what became a pattern for Biolcati, he quickly found himself inundated with gigs, performing regularly with an array of musicians at the city’s most prestigious venues and festivals. A scholarship to the Berklee College of Music brought him to Boston in 1996, where he performed with resident masters George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Hal Crook, Mick Goodrick, and Bob Moses. It was at Berklee that he met Lionel Loueke and Ferenc Nemeth, forging friendships that have profoundly shaped his life.
After five years in Boston, Biolcati auditioned for the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles, where he was the only bass player selected from hundreds of applicants. At the institute, he studied and performed with many jazz legends, including Dave Holland, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Barron, John Scofield, Christian McBride, Lewis Nash, and Mark Turner.
After moving to New York City in 2003, Biolcati thrived as a sideman to Paquito D’Rivera, Terence Blanchard, Ravi Coltrane, and Lizz Wright. In recent years, he’s toured and recorded with Brazilian vocalist-composer Luciana Souza. As a leader, he released Persona in 2008, an ambitious and critically hailed album of original compositions played by Loueke, pianist-accordionist Pete Rende, and drummer Jeff Ballard, with vocal contributions by Wright and Gretchen Parlato.
Biolcati is increasingly turning his attention to producing, recently working with the electro-funk outfit Hornē Electric Band on its self-titled debut. He is set to release his own album as a leader early next year and a new album with Gilfema in the spring, which he produced.
Ferenc Nemeth is an accomplished and versatile musician who continues to push the boundaries of jazz drumming and composition. Since the early days of his career, he has been one of the most sought-after drummers both in his native Hungary and in the United States. An exciting performer and imaginative collaborator, Nemeth is well regarded for his work with the Lionel Loueke Trio and Gilfema. An ever-present thirst for exploration and experimentation has seen Nemeth travel widely, performing with musicians from a variety of backgrounds and countries. His expertise and vast knowledge beyond traditional jazz have also seen him move effortlessly through contemporary jazz as well as pop, rock, electro-pop, hip-hop, and other culturally diverse disciplines.
Nemeth studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles, where he learned from and worked with the world’s finest jazz musicians and groups, including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Terence Blanchard, the Billy Childs Trio, Bob Sheppard, Dave Carpenter, John Clayton, Jimmy Heath, and the Henry Mancini Orchestra. Relocating to New York City in 2003, Nemeth’s distinctive energy and drive saw his career continuing with many of the same musicians, and also expanding to include the likes of Christian McBride, John Patitucci, John Abercrombie, Dave Samuels, Mark Turner, Hal Crook, David Benoit, Bud Shank, Greg Hopkins, Phil Wilson, Dave Grusin, Eddie Daniels, Eddie Henderson, Ron McClure, Chris Cheek, Aaron Goldberg, Kenny Wheeler, Eli Degibri, Jonathan Kreisberg, John Ellis, Omer Avital, Ilaiyaraaja, the Kenny Werner Coalition, and most recently Dhafer Youssef.
Beyond his extensive performance and recording credits, Nemeth has established his own label, Dreamers Collective Records, on which he released his debut album of original compositions, Night Songs, in 2007. This was followed with Triumph in 2012, and Imaginary Realm in 2013. The fourth album on the label, Bridges of Souls, was released in 2014—a collaboration with Hungarian guitarist Attila László that also featured Jimmy Haslip and Russell Ferrante.
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Cyro Baptista arrived in the United States in 1980 on a scholarship to attend the Woodstock-based Creative Music Studio (CMS). During the 1970s and ’80s, CMS was considered the premier study center for contemporary creative music and is credited as the birthplace of world jazz—the improvisational and compositional expansion of the world’s musical traditions.
After his time at CMS, Baptista moved to New York City, where he started his career on the streets of lower Manhattan. His vast talent and penchant for innovation brought him to be praised as one of the most respected musicians the world.
Baptista’s endless sonic curiosity and intense rhythmic drive have since brought him to lead several ensembles and record many albums of his own. He has also lent his sounds to many Grammy-winning records and more than 300 albums with the world’s most beloved musicians.
Baptista’s talent, credibility, and versatility have led to associations with a wide range of leading jazz, rock, pop, classical, avant-garde, and Brazilian artists. From Paul Simon to Yo-Yo-Ma, Herbie Hancock to Kathleen Battle, Trey Anastasio to John Zorn, Wynton Marsalis to Laurie Anderson, and legendary Brazilians Milton Nascimento and Caetano Veloso to Sting—they have all benefited from Baptista’s magic touch on their recordings and