A native of Benin, Loueke came to the U.S. in 1999, at the age of 26, and swiftly blew away a big bands worth of jazz luminariesHerbie, Wayne, Terence Blanchard, Charlie Haden (whos always had a sharp eye for killer imports)all of whom enlisted the guitarist for touring and recording. A minutes listen and youll know why: Loueke has that feeling, that unteachable quality, in his lines, his phrasing. This is music designed to express, not impress; he couldnt play a cliché, or a dishonest note, if he wanted to. This jazz knows no borders, with a samba-like ease, an Afro-pop hop, a downtown harmonic openness. Louekes trio-matesHungarian drummer Ferenc Nemeth and Swedish-Italian bassist Massimo Biolcatibring an extra cross-cultural dimension to the music, creating something beyond category but within every listeners reach. More props to the Alley for going beyond their standard fare.