gretchen parlato & lionel loueke

Dynamic duets by two soulmates and international jazz greats.

While their vocals fuse and harmonize, it becomes obvious that they have known each other for a long time: singer Gretchen Parlato and guitarist Lionel Loueke have achieved success as solo artists in their own right, but they started out at the same time in New York. They regularly performed as a duo, developing a richly harmonic style while accompanying themselves on percussion and guitar. Last year they finally released their first duo album, Lean In.

The album was conceived during the pandemic, through the lens of two friends who were decidedly vulnerable about an unforeseeable journey. More then ever, they were open to their diverse backgrounds and influences. For many years, Gretchen Parlato has immersed herself Brazilian music on the one hand, and West-African percussion on the other. Lionel Lueke is from Benin, where as a teenager he learned by playing along to American jazz guitar greats. This mix of genres is at the heart of the songs and improvisations of this virtuosic duo.

‘The dynamic duo often create rainforests of sonic wonder’ (Downbeat).

Gretchen Parlato vocals, Lionel Loueke guitar