After more than a decade of providing some of the most riveting post-Hendrix guitar arsenals this side of Eddie Hazel, and a multifaceted career that includes working with the likes of Miles Davis, Cassandra Wilson, Muhal Richard Abrams and Lawrence "Butch" Morris, Jean-Paul Bourelly is still roundly ignored in jazz-critic polls. Nevertheless, not being in the spotlight has its advantages, such as being able to follow one's creative sprit. Witness Bourelly's latest album, Boom Bop, where he collaborates with a handful of Senegalese percussionists as well as iconic saxophonists Henry Threadgill and Archie Shepp, resulting in a visceral album of Afro-psychedelia that's as passionate as it is probing.
At first listening to Boom Bop, Bourelly's dense chords and high-wired wails, and Reggie Washington or Big Royal Talamacus' subatomic bass playing, seem too jarring alongside the protean polyrhythms and Abdourahmane Diop's lead vocals. But the music begins to make ultimate sense with repeated listens.
Bourelly's once staccato, Hendrix-inflected vocals give way to more of an elongated Afro-Arabian phrasing on Boom Bop, but Bourelly's deep delta-blues roots are firmly intact as evidenced by the eerie "New Afro Blu" in which Bourelly sings of a deceitful lover alongside Diop's fervid, chantlike singing. Other blues-drenched Afro-psychedelic charms include the percussive instrumental "Kinetic Threadness," which features some fine alto work from Threadgill, the dreamy "Tara" and the thumping "Silent Rain."
While it's far-fetched that Boom Bop will make Bourelly a household name in the U.S, it will undoubtedly solidify his credentials as one of the most inventive and under-recognized guitarists of our time.
Bourelly's excellent effort takes you into various jazz experiences. With African and mid-eastern beats and sounds, this album offers a different kind of musical experience. by John Murph
Great musicianship and patterns and beats that are off the beaten road, Bourelly offers us an album of highly original moments.
A very inspired and highly skillful album, Boom Bop will take you into directions jazz music often refuses to go.
AJ CHARRON -guitarnoise.com
Jean-Paul Bourelly | Jazz Magnet Records
By Larry Nai
While the tag, with Archie Shepp and Henry Threadgill on the cover of Boom Bop might make pulses of a certain age quicken with anticipation, the two saxophonists dont play together on the disc. However, the handful of appearances by each, on this bewitching set of Afrocentric music, provides the icing on a cake whose many layers seem injected with hallucinogens.
As befits someone whose professional resume includes work with Pee Wee Ellis, Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Coleman and Trilok Gurtu, guitarist Bourelly brings an eclectic world-view to the table. With the great Abdourahmane Diop, from Senegal, on vocals and percussion, and a potent, uncluttered backdrop, much of the disc sounds like the Gary Bartz NTU Troop crossed with the Sun City Girls. On the hypnotic Tara, for instance, multi-tracking allows Bourelly to weave hard-edged, dirty blues licks with delicate wisps of electronic effects; the master plan is rigorously constructed, yet as spontaneous as the blink of an eye. On electric guitar, Bourellys huge, wah-wahd runs on Gumbe are wide enough to contain a river; when he turns to acoustic for the ruminative Root One, the harmonic universe he creates manages to simultaneously summon the spirits of Jimi Hendrix, and the English folk icon, Nick Drake.
Shepp sounds as fluid as ever on New Afro Blu and Invisible Indivisible, where he plays off a guitar-bass-drums jam reminiscent of the boundary-pushing Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsys. Unlike other sideman work thats found him rather superficially grafted onto the proceedings, Shepp fits perfectly into Bourellys sonic landscape, which is full of glistening, ethereal details. Threadgill is relegated to the ensemble for Silent Rain, but achieves active status on Kinetic Threadness, where his tensile, percussive interplay with Bourelly pulses like veins bulging in ones neck. Chalk this disc up as an early candidate for the years best.