Jean-Paul Bourelly

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Jean-Paul Bourelly
Jean-Paul Bourelly, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days, 2006
Jean-Paul Bourelly, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days, 2006
Background information
Birth nameJean-Paul Etienne Bourelly
Born (1960-11-23) November 23, 1960 (age 61)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer
  • composer
  • record producer
  • label owner
Years active1980–present

Jean-Paul Etienne 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 Muhal Richard Abrams, Olu Dara, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, Pharoah Sanders, McCoy Tyner,[3] Steve Coleman, Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp, Archie Shepp, and David Torn. 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,[3] 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 led several groups during the 2000s, including 3kings, Citizen X, and Blues Bandits.[2]

His daughter, Bibi Bourelly, is a singer and songwriter.[4]


As leader[edit]

  • Jungle Cowboy (JMT, 1987)
  • Trippin (Enemy, 1992)
  • Saints & Sinners (DIW, 1993)
  • Blackadelic-Blu (DIW, 1994)
  • Tribute to Jimi (DIW, 1995)
  • Live! Fade to Cacophony (DIW, 1995)
  • Rock the Cathartic Spirits (DIW, 1996)
  • Mag Five with Harry Sokal, Lonnie Plaxico, Ronnie Burrage (PAO, 1998)
  • Vibe Music (PAO, 1999)
  • Boom Bop (PAO, 2000)
  • Trance Atlantic (Boom Bop II) (Double Moon, 2001)
  • News from a Darked Out Room (Phonector, 2006)
  • CutMotion (JPGotMangos, 2007)
  • Kiss the Sky with Daryl Taylor, Kenny Martin (JPGotMangos, 2018)

As sideman[edit]

With Cassandra Wilson

With others


  1. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Jean-Paul Bourelly". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Yanow, Scott (2013). The Great Jazz Guitarists. San Francisco: Backbeat. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6.
  3. ^ a b Gilbert, Mark (2002). Kernfeld, Barry (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries. p. 277. ISBN 1-56159-284-6.
  4. ^ Augustin, Camille (17 April 2015). "Views From The Studio With… Songwriter Bibi Bourelly". Vibe. Retrieved 11 January 2017.

External links[edit]