Monday 5 July 2021

Lionel Loueke answers my question: where is the One?

"Nobody believes me the first time I tell them where the One is." 

I was sat across the table from Lionel Loueke.

Earlier that month, I had been speaking on the phone with Dave Stapleton of Edition Records, sharing with him some early ideas for the Groovalo record club, around the time he was preparing for the release of Lionel Loueke's HH record. It came up that both Loueke and myself were living in Luxembourg. So we arranged to meet.

And obviously my first question: where is the one? He immediately knew what I meant.

"Nobody believes me the first time I tell them where the One is. Not even Terence [Blanchard, who was director of the Monk Insitute where Loueke once studied]."

One day - I'm guessing around 2007 or 2008 - Dave Hamblett played me the track: Novignon, the version from Gretchen Parlato's first album. I remember him clapping the clave and counting. I didn't believe him. 

He was right, though. There were other versions of the tune which made it more obvious, which helped. Still, I'm still thrown by it every time.

In true fanboy fashion I showed Loueke a drum machine on my phone where I had a patch saved of the Novignon beat, complete with a loud, graceless click landing on the One each time. Just where Dave Hamblett had said it was 12 years earlier.

So where is the One?

1...2...3...4...not there. There.

"You don't really need to think about it like that, though." and then he did a motion with his hand in a circle. "It's more like that."

Anyway, here is the rest of the interview I did, as it appeared in the first issue of the Groovalo record club zine...