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CD REVIEW: Jean-Paul Bourelly - Boom Bop
By Ben Ohmart - 01/02/2002 - 12:47 PM EST

Artist: Jean
Album: Paul Bourelly - Boom Bop
CD Review: In the length of a Charlie Chan movie, Jean-Paul Bourelly and company take us on an exotic Boom Bop trip that crosses continents and cultures with teleporting skill. Call it jazz fusion or African coalition freestyle or any genre-weaving name you can cleverly come up with, one thing’s certain. You’ll have to come up with something new.

The 63 minutes of the following are truly inspirational in today’s land, when it seems that you’ve heard it all.

1. Gumbe
2. New Afro Blu
3. Three Chambers of Diop
4. Silent Rain
5. Root One
6. Invisible Indivisible
7. Kinetic Threadness
8. Brother Boom Bap
9. Tara
10. Griot Sunset

The only puzzling aspect is Bourelly’s lead role, because the others make just as deep an impression with time and talent. In the first 2 tracks alone there is not a dominating guitar. More is heard of Bourelly’s voice than fingers, so don’t go into the set thinking this is all guitar beat. The players:

Jean-Paul Bourelly - guitar, voice
Abdourahmane Diop - voice, drums
Archie Shepp - ten. sax
Henry Threadgill - alt. sax
Reggie Washington - bass
Big Royal Talamacus - filtered boom bass
Samba Sock - boograboo
Slaka - jimbe
Slam T. Wig - drums

Bourelly has led a group 10 times, and has performed with the likes of Miles Davis, Roy Haynes and Elvin Jones, not to mention such classic rock stars as Robin Trower and Terry Bozio. This mix of progressive and jazz shows just why Bourelly is so Good at singing one melody, while his backing crew - and himself - seemingly start on another, as ‘Silent Rain’ demonstrates quite productively.

A great album, but one that will have to be eased into, if you’re from a smooth jazz family. Bourelly’s clan is out to promote thought and active listening, not a laid-back, passive stance. Terrific mix of instruments however. The tossed salad of Afro-jazz.

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