Hailing from the west African country of Benin, Lionel Loueke is a jazz guitarist who started off playing African pop music before discovering and falling for the jazz guitar stylings of George Benson. After making his way through The Ivory Coast, Paris, Boston and eventually Southern California while studying at different music and art institutes, he began playing with trumpeter Blanchard. Loueke was featured on two of the brass man's records, 2003's Bounce and 2005's Flow. These albums kick-started his prolific career as a sideman, which would lead him to collaborations with iconic artists such as Santana and Sting. Loueke dropped his debut album as band leader, In a Trance, in 2005, and has since continued to release records both as a front man and as a sideman.