Blues-rock/fusion guitarist Jean-Paul Bourelly was born on November 23, 1960, in Chicago, IL, to parents who were first-generation Haitians. Early on, Bourelly learned about Yoruba music from his grandmother, sang Rossini at the Lyric Opera House at ten years of age, and took both piano and drum lessons. But by the age of 14, Bourelly had shifted his focus entirely onto guitar upon discovering Jimi Hendrix. After relocating to New York City in 1979, Bourelly soon landed gigs with the likes of Muhal Richard Abrams, Roy Haynes, McCoy Tyner, and Elvin Jones, and a bit spot in Francis Ford Coppola's movie The Cotton Club. The late '80s saw Bourelly launch a solo career (with 1987's Jungle Cowboy), and a year later, landed a once in a lifetime opportunity by playing on one of Miles Davis' latter-day recordings, Amandla.
In addition, Bourelly became involved in the Black Rock Coalition (which was founded by Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid), all the while continuing to play with others -- including former Hendrix drummer Buddy Miles, Robin Trower, Jack Bruce, and Terry Bozzio, as well as producing artists (including the European rock band Matalex, and Cassandra Wilson, the latter of which Bourelly has played with over several albums). Bourelly has also steadily issued solo releases throughout the 1990s and early 21st century (1992's Trippin', 1994's Saints & Sinners and Blackadelic Blu, 1995's Tribute to Jimi, 1997's Fade to Cacophony: Live, 1998's Rock the Cathartic Spirits, 1999's Vibe Music, 2001's Boom Bop, and 2002's Trance Atlantic), as he has enjoyed quite a bit of critical and commercial success over in Japan. Bourelly has collaborated with others, too, including Vernon Reid (the Reid/Bourelly Project), Marc Ribot, David Torn, and Elliott Sharp, and African Boom Bop. ~ Greg Prato