Benin-born Lionel Loueke studied at the National Institute of Art in Abidjan, the American School of Modern Music in Paris, Boston's Berklee College of Music and (lastly) the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles. He has played with Sting, Terence Blanchard, Charlie Haden, Kenny Garrett and Angélique Kidjo. Also a member of the Gilfema trio, Loueke is an inventive and original guitarist who traces his musical roots back to West Africa yet is still grounded in contemporary jazz. In 2008, he launched the solo recording Karibu, with collaborations from Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. Mwalika came out in 2010. Produced by Robert Glasper, Heritage followed two years later. He chose to record Gaïa—his remarkable rock-infused fourth Blue Note album released in 2015—live in the studio with an intimate audience in attendance.