On August 28, the acclaimed West African jazz guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke will release Heritage, his dynamic third Blue Note album, which was co-produced by label mate Robert Glasper. Heritage finds Loueke””who was hailed by The New York Times as “a gentle virtuoso”””exploring a more electric sound with a new trio featuring Derrick Hodge on electric bass and Mark Guiliana on drums. The album presents seven new compositions by Loueke, two by Glasper, and one co-written by the two. Glasper also contributes piano and keyboards to six tracks, while singer Gretchen Parlato provides background vocals on two tracks.A veteran of bands led by Terence Blanchard and Herbie Hancock, Loueke is bringing jazz into vibrant contact with the sounds of West Africa, in particular his native Benin. The title Heritage is a direct reference to his personal odyssey. “I have two heritages,” Loueke says. “One is from my ancestors from Africa, and that goes through my music, my body, my soul, every aspect of what I do. But also I have the heritage from the Occident, from the West, from Europe and the U.S. I speak English, I speak French, and I have that heritage too. I called this album Heritage because I’ve been blessed by all different parts of the world, and most of the songs reflect that.””Robert is a true genius,” says Loueke of his producer and friend, “and I knew that he’d be the right person. I like a musician who surprises me all the time. We’re good friends and we’re both open, and that’s when the magic happens.” Loueke has performed as a special guest with the Robert Glasper Trio, and was in fact an original member of the Robert Glasper Experiment when it first formed.The track listing for Heritage is as follows:1. IfÃª (Lionel Loueke)2. Ouidah (Loueke)3. Tribal Dance (Robert Glasper)4. Hope (Loueke/Glasper)5. Freedom Dance (Loueke)6. Chardon (Loueke)7. Farafina (Loueke)8. African Ship (Loueke)9. Goree (Loueke)10. Bayyinah (Glasper)* * *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 came to the U.S. on a scholarship to Berklee. From there, Loueke gained acceptance to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, where he encountered his Gilfema bandmates Massimo Biolcati and Ferenc Nemeth, as well as Gretchen Parlato and other musicians with whom he would form lasting creative relationships.Praised by his mentor Herbie 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 Blue Note debut Karibu featured guest appearances from Hancock and Wayne Shorter and was met with wide acclaim. TIME magazine wrote that “Karibu is a jamboree of sprung rhythms, splashed with African and Brazilian flavors, in which Loueke scat-sings, drums on his guitar, mouth-clicks and plays some wicked jazz.”His second Blue Note release, Mwaliko, offered a series of searching, intimate duets with Angelique Kidjo, Richard Bona, Esperanza Spalding and Marcus Gilmore “” artists and allies who continue to have a profound impact on Loueke’s vision as a bandleader. In addition to three previous albums with Gilfema (Gilfema, Virgin Forest, Gilfema + 2), Loueke has appeared on Terence Blanchard’s Grammy-nominated Flow (2005) and Hancock’s Grammy-winning River: The Joni Letters (2008). He has also toured the world as a member of Hancock’s band and 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 recorded with Esperanza Spalding (Radio Music Society), Gretchen Parlato (In a Dream), Avishai Cohen (After the Big Rain), Kendrick Scott (Source) and other leading peers.