Jean-Paul Bourelly

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Jean-Paul Bourelly
Jean-Paul Bourelly, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days, 2006
Background information
Born (1960-11-23) November 23, 1960 (age 57)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Genres Jazz fusion, rock, avant-rock, blues, world music
Occupation(s) Musician, singer, composer, record producer, label owner
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1980–present

Jean-Paul Bourelly (born November 23, 1960) is an American guitarist whose music crosses the boundaries of jazz fusion and rock.

Bourelly was born in Chicago, Illinois, to parents from Haiti. His grandmother taught him Yoruba music. When he was ten years old, he sang at the Lyric Opera. He took lessons on piano and drums.[1] He played acoustic guitar, but after hearing Jimi Hendrix on the radio, he bought an electric guitar with money he had saved from working at his uncle's gas station. During the same year, a late-night radio show introduced him to the music of Charlie Parker, which impressed him.[2]

In 1979, he moved to New York City. During the 1980s, he worked with Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Coleman, Marc Ribot, Pharoah Sanders, Elliott Sharp, Archie Shepp, David Torn, and Olu Dara. He produced albums for Cassandra Wilson. He got a small role in the film The Cotton Club, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Near the end of the decade, he played on Amandla, one of Miles Davis's last albums.[1][2] In 1987, he released his first solo album, Jungle Cowboy, and through 1995 he led the BluWave Bandits.[2]

Bourelly said that when he moved to Europe in the 1990s, his music became difficult to classify, and that it combines his Haitian heritage, African rhythms, blues, and rock. He founded the record label JPGotMangos and headed several groups into the 2000s, including 3kings, Citizen X, and Blues Bandits.[2]

His daughter, Bibi Bourelly, is a singer and songwriter.[3]


  • Jungle Cowboy (JMT, 1987)
  • Trippin (Enemy, 1992)
  • Saints & Sinners (DIW, 1994)
  • Blackadelic-Blu (DIW, 1994)
  • Tribute to Jimi (Koch, 1995)
  • Fade to Cacophony (Evidence, 1997)
  • Rock the Cathartic Spirits (Koch, 1998)
  • Vibe Music (BMG, 1999)
  • Boom Bop (Jazz Magnet, 2001)
  • Trance Atlantic (Challenge, 2002)
  • News from a Darked Out Room (Phonector, 2006)
  • Cut Motion (JPGotMangos, 2007)

With Muhal Richard Abrams

With Charles & Eddie

With Craig Harris

With Elvin Jones & McCoy Tyner

With Cassandra Wilson


  1. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Jean-Paul Bourelly | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d Yanow, Scott (2013). The great jazz guitarists : the ultimate guide. San Francisco: Backbeat. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6. 
  3. ^ Augustin, Camille (17 April 2015). "Views From The Studio With… Songwriter Bibi Bourelly". Vibe. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 

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