The famous drummer Jeff Ballard would play at our festival as a leader of the trio with sax player Chris Cheek, and the singer/guitarist Lionel Loueke.
Jeff Ballard is an American jazz drummer. He has played with Ray Charles and Pat Metheny and plays periodically with Chick Corea in many groups such as Origin and the Chick Corea New Trio. He also played with many New York-based jazz musicians such as Reid Anderson, Brad Mehldau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Miguel Zenon and Eli Degibri. He has also played with the Joshua Redman Elastic Band.
He is currently a member of the Brad Mehldau Trio and co-leader of Fly, a collective trio with Mark Turner and Larry Grenadier.
Lionel Loueke is a guitarist and vocalist born in the west African country of Benin. He played African pop music, but discovered jazz when a friend returned from Paris with a copy of an album by jazz guitarist George Benson. This inspired Loueke to study jazz. In 2001, Loueke auditioned for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of Southern California. He was selected in a worldwide search by a panel of judges including jazz musicians Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard and Wayne Shorter. Loueke was featured on two albums with Terence Blanchard for Blue Note Records, Bounce (2003) and Flow (2005). He has performed on jazz pianist Herbie Hancock’s albums Possibilities (2006) and River: The Joni Letters (2007), and also worked with Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Wayne Shorter, Charlie Haden, Richard Bona, Nathan East, Marcus Miller, Sting, Brian Blade, John Patitucci, Kenny Garrett, Roy Hargrove, Santana, and Dennis Chambers.