Lionel Loueke
Close Your Eyes
Sounderscore, 2021

November 12, 2021

Sounderscore re-releases Close Your Eyes, Lionel Loueke’s standards album that was originally only released on vinyl by Newvelle in 2018.

A versatile guitarist with a particularly personal and recognizable style that relies heavily on the percussive use of the instrument, Lionel Loueke is one of the most interesting musicians to emerge in the new century. This is evident in the mix of jazz and African music that he constantly achieves as a native of Benin.

Close Your Eyes features Loueke accompanied by Reuben Rogers on double bass and Eric Harland on drums. The record was originally a 2018 vinyl-only release by Newvelle and was re-released on CD by Sounderscore on October 22. The new edition offers three songs in the songlist that were not on the vinyl version: “Countdown” by John Coltrane, “Skylark” by Hoagy Carmichael and “We See” by Thelonius Monk.
The album brilliantly spans a hundred years of jazz history through well-known songs here revised with a contemporary aesthetic that is generally aggressive with ingenious arrangements such as the the odd times of “Footprints”, the paroxysmal performance of “Countdown” and the evocative “Moon River”, for example.
In this case the standards become a common text that lends itself very well (as in the best jazz tradition) to be distorted, dismembered and reconstructed in new and unpredictable forms. The whole album in this sense is particularly interesting and the continuous close-knit and convincing surprises by the trio, are listened to with pleasure. Don’t miss the iconoclastic version of “Body And Soul”, between touching and avant-garde, and the afro arrangement of “Naima”, which well represents Loueke’s irrepressible creativity.



Lionel Loueke Close Your Eyes Sounderscore 2021 © Jazzespresso 2021

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