Jimmy Gourley

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Jimmy Gourley
Birth name James Pasco Gourley, Jr.
Born (1926-06-09)June 9, 1926
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Died December 7, 2008(2008-12-07) (aged 82)
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1940–2008
Labels Elabeth
Associated acts Henri Renaud, Philippe Combelle, Dominique Lemerle

James Pasco Gourley, Jr. (June 9, 1926 – December 7, 2008) was an American jazz guitarist who spent most of his life in Paris.

Gourley was born in St. Louis in 1926. He met saxophonist Lee Konitz in Chicago when both were members of the same high school band. He credits Konitz with sparking his desire to become a serious musician. Gourley's father started the Monarch Conservatory of Music in Hammond, Indiana, though he didn't teach, and he bought Gourley his first guitar. Gourley took his first guitar classes at the school. He became interested in jazz while listening to the radio by his bed, enjoying in particular Nat King Cole. For his first professional experience as a performer, he dropped out of high school and went to Oklahoma City to play guitar with a jazz band at a hotel.[1]

Gourley went into the U.S. Navy from 1944–1946. Returning to Chicago, he met guitarist Jimmy Raney and wanted to play like him. He got jobs in bars and clubs throughout the late 1940s, performing with Jackie Cain, Roy Kral, Anita O'Day, Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, and many well-known musicians as they passed through Chicago.[1][2] Through the G.I. Bill, he received full paid tuition for three years to any college in the world.[1]

In the 1950s, Gourley was based in Paris with pianist Henri Renaud. He spent most of the rest of his career in France. He performed often at the Blue Note in Paris and recorded with Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer, Clifford Brown, Gigi Gryce, Roy Haynes, and Zoot Sims. Later in life he played often in his trio, which included Philippe Combelle and Dominique Lemerle.[2]


  • 1963 Americans in Europe Vol. 1 (Impulse!, 1963)
  • 1977 Graffiti (Promophone)
  • 1981 No More (Musica)
  • 1983 The Jazz Trio (Elabeth, 1983, 1995)
  • 1986 The Left Bank of New York (Uptown)
  • 2004 Highlights (Elabeth/Fairplay)
  • 2005 Board the Straight Ahead Express (Elabeth)
  • 2006 Double Action (Elabeth, 1999, 2006)
  • 2006 And the Paris Heavyweights (52e Rue Est, Elabeth, 1972, 2006)
  • 2006 Repetition (Elabeth, 1997, 2006)
  • 2006 Our Delight (Elabeth)[3]


  1. ^ a b c Broadbent, Peter; Burns, Robert (2009). "Lively Arts – Human Interest". Lively Arts. Retrieved 15 October 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Chadbourne, Eugene. "Jimmy Gourley | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "Jimmy Gourley | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 September 2016. 

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