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Jean-Paul Bourelly conquers the frameworks through conduction

Musicians' Corner makes a new article with Jean-Paul Bourelly

Jean-Paul Bourelly

An article with Jean-Paul Bourelly

   Right now I’m based between America and Europe. I don’t want to spend any more winters in Berlin – I have promised myself that.

In Europe things have changed a lot. I’m not an employee. I have to be responsible and decide where I am going to be. I have given Berlin twenty-three years now, and Berlin has transformed a great deal too. One has to follow where the music might be needed and sometimes one must follow where one needs to be. There are different political ideals that people concern themselves with but its great city and still my second home .

It is time for me to go discover. I have been in the US frequently lately, mostly on the East Coast, although I have now relocated to the West Coast two weeks ago. I also went on a road trip through the states that separate the coasts and got a sense of how different the rest of the country is in between.

Basically there could be more spreading of diverse ideas into the inside of the country and more exchange to allow people on the coasts to know how the inside is feeling and what they are going through. With some effort, you could understand difference as a good thing, a vital thing. With a little more effort you could make people understand their situation and where their frustration and anger is really coming from, how it could be directed constructively. Music and art could play a huge part in working that out.

Jean-Paul Bourelly

   Before this I just got back from Nigeria, where I have been vibe-ing with the folks there. I also got a chance to interact with musicians in Lagos. Adé Bantu who is a producer and performer has been building a nice music scene there and we jammed, it was really exciting. I hope to do more because there is an incredible energy there.

I’m trying to continue to learn and feel people and places and allow that to influence me. I always fed off that interaction with the wider world. It ignites. Over the last years I have worked in North, East and West Africa, and in Lebanon. What you learn from being around the world is that culture is the different ways that people express their lives and solve their problems  but the people, the human beings themselves are really more alike than different.

We need to be driven by a lust for music, meaning that music is a carrier of much more information than just being music. I have carried on my improvisational styles and that has allowed my expression to evolve. I do feel that there is a massive change happening. We are in a transitional phase. The established system has not yet faded and next phase is not yet completely here. I hope things will continue to become more open.

"New Orleans Bitter Suite: Only Elephants Crossing". Kiss The Sky 2017. Jean-Paul Bourelly, Daryl Taylor, Kenny Martin.

   Music in general has lived with nostalgia for many, many years now, and it’s hard to connect with audiences through progressive ideas, unless it’s electronic, because they are not used to it. The masses are full in tuned with machine driven, linear music. What has that done to us? Made us more like machines maybe? It is also creating a lust for human and nonlinear sound.

Artists need to open the world up in our own small way. In these times - when roadblocks are being put everywhere - it is sometimes hard to understand what a person should do. How do creative musicians keep moving when everything is changing so fast?

Jean-Paul Bourelly

   My project Kiss The Sky’s debut record is available at gigs and on CD Baby. We have a second version of the album that will come out soon, and we have been touring on the basis of it.

It’s hard to get musicians who work in many groups all the time to try something new and to absorb it, because they have to learn so much music. It was difficult to get the three of us in the band on the same page because I do more conceptual music Daryl and Kenny do a lot of music thats happening on the night club scene. We had been playing Hendrix styled Band of Gypsys’ grooves for years. We all loved that style. It was probably the reason we came together. Reverence is fine, but I wanted to get the group out of that comfort zone, that funk rock-thing and ignite some new vigor, because too much reverence destroys your own purpose as an artist. We needed to figure out how to get out of a framework that wasn’t going to change, that comfort loop. I had been doing conduction ** in my youth workshops. I learned it from working with the great Butch Morris over the years.  I started to introduce some conduction in rehearsals and in concert and immediately the music started to move into a different place. It took a few year but now we are fully out of that old language now.

The Kiss the Sky debut album is the culmination of that evolutionary process.



**Conduction explained HERE

JEAN-PAUL BOURELLY has previously contributed to Musicians' Corner. Read an article here

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--- Hangout with Jean-Paul Bourelly! ---

Page in the listener-section at Musicians' Corner. If you are a listener check this and other posts in this section

Jean-Paul Bourelly

Take the amazing chance to meet guitar-virtuoso and one of a kind-artist JEAN-PAUL BOURELLY. If anyone on the planet upholds the spirit of Hendrix while having his own very unique voice and taking music forward right now, this is the man!

Inventive, groovy, sharp, and with an unparalleled range, where tradition and world comes together with cutting edge, Bourelly has a great CV where playing with, among many many others, Elvin Jones and Cassandra Wilson, and having been active on the NY music scene for years, is mixed with his being based in Berlin since many years after that, and from where Bourelly runs a myriad of projects, such as the outstanding Stone Raiders, with Darryl Jones and Will Calhoun.

You will be kicking yourself if you miss this...

Meet JP in person on Musicians' Corner October 4th! Take this opportunity to ask your own questions and chat with him!

We will hang out with Jean-Paul Bourelly October 4th, and the time is 4PM EST, 9PM BST, 10PM CET. Check your local time if other.

There are only 5 (five!) seats available at this Artist Hangout, so make sure that one of them is booked for you!

Sign up now!

Date & time:  October 4th -- 4 PM EST. 9 PM BST. 10 PM CET

Number of seats: 5

What you need to participate is a computer and a good internet connection.

Price per seat (choose your currency): $ 28 € 25 KR 240

Derek Walmsley received The Music Journalist of the Year-award

Article in the section Articles about the Music Journalist of the Year award


Music journalist of the year Derek Walmsley

   Derek Walmsley, Deputy Editor at The Wire, was elected Music Journalist Of The Year 2014, by the artist jury at Musicians’ Corner at the beginning of the year. And on a summer day in London, Walmsley received the award.

   The jury, consisting of artists and Musicians’ Corner-contributors Jean-Paul Bourelly, Svante Karlsson and Chris Simmons, wrote the following about the recipient:

   "Derek Walmsley has an obvious passion for music and the infinite roots of its history. His work is enlightening and well-written. Details are combined with complexity in a way that makes you want to read more. Walmsley’s articles are nuanced and make insightful connections. The reader is informed through his articles and can no longer sit by as a passive consumer. This is elevated writing. It is deep and comprehensive. This is what we need more of today. Derek Walmsley is deserving of the award and should receive it."

   Saxophonist and Musicians’ Corner-contributor Zhenya Strigalev presented Derek Walmsley with the well deserved award in London during the week.

The jury behind the selection of the winner, and the presenter of the award:


Jean-Paul Bourelly, Svante Karlsson, Chris Simmons and Zhenya Strigalev.


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David Murray remembers Butch Morris

David Murray

I met Butch when I was 17, in Pomona California. I was about to go to college. I think that he had been in the service and had come back. At that time he was playing the cornet. Not sure that he was conducting yet. We played together several times but my career was largely separate from his.

When he started conducting it opened up a new world for him. He really got his presence in the music through conducting. He used a lot of different hand signals. It was a very creative way of treating big band music. He would take a riff out of a solo and make the band play it. He would lift out a certain rhythm, designate certain notes to players, etc. It all went on in the air, he made an arrangement there, and he kept the music fresh.


Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris' "Conduction No 192 Possible Universe" at Sant'Anna Arresi Jazz Festival 2010


Sant'Anna Arresi Jazz Festival has released (2015) a limited edition (1000 copies) recording of the performance ''Possible Universe conducition 192 August 29th 2010'' by Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris, featuring David Murray, Evan Parker, Pasquale Innarella, Greg Ward, Joe Bowie, Tony Cattano, Meg Montgomery, Riccardo Pittau, Jean-Paul Bourelly, On Ka'a Davis, Harrison Bankhead, Silvia Bolognesi, Chad Taylor, Hamid Drake and Alan Silva.

 'Possible Universe' at Sant'Anna Arresi Jazz Festival

 'Possible Universe' at Sant'Anna Arresi Jazz Festival

Find out more about David Murray HERE.
Find out more about Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris, February 10, 1947 - January 29, 2013, HERE.

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Announcing the recipient of The Music Journalist of the Year-award 2014!

Article in the section Articles about the Music Journalist of the Year award

logo for the Music Journalist of the Year award on Musicians' Corner




   Ladies and gentlemen, the moment has arrived when we announce who the recipient of the first annual Music Journalist of the Year-award is.


  The nominations for this award came from you, our visitors. And the artist jury have chosen their winner among these.



   We are proud to announce that the Music Journalist of the Year-award 2014 goes to


   Derek Walmsley is deputy editor at The Wire. And these are two examples of his excellent journalistic work during 2014:






   The jury's motivation for the award reads as follows:



"Derek Walmsley has an obvious passion for music and the infinite roots of its history. His work is enlightening and well-written. Details are combined with complexity in a way that makes you want to read more. Walmsley’s articles are nuanced and make insightful connections. The reader is informed through his articles and can no longer sit by as a passive consumer. This is elevated writing. It is deep and comprehensive. This is what we need more of today. Derek Walmsley is deserving of the award and should receive it."


The artist jury at Musicians’ Corner 2014:
Jean-Paul Bourelly
Svante Karlsson
Chris Simmons

The jury for the Music Journalist of the Year award: Jean-Paul Bourelly, Svante Karlsson, Chris Simmons



  The award will be presented to the recipient later this year.

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10 artists on the changes and current times in the industry

logo for Musicians' Corner, Musicians On Music


  We are celebrating our first birthday here at Musicians’ Corner. This site, where musicians talk and write about music, opened at the turn of the month October-November last year. At that point the site was empty. But now…


  So many things have been said about music, as an art form, a soundtrack to our lives, a profession and career, as a reflection of us as people and a reflection of the times, and as an industry and a business, over this period of time. Many of our contributors have also addressed the same things, the changes in the business being one of the topics that many have spoken of, for example.


  Today we recap some of what has been said about the current times in music from an infrastructural point of view. Music has gone through so many changes lately in that regard.



Kent Beatty

KENT BEATTY: -It's a great time to be a musician. Some might disagree with that, in this age of TV Voice/Idol contests and live bands being replaced by machines all the time. Sure, record deals aren't being served up on the hood of a Ferrari often these days. But now there is so much that artists can do independently, if they are willing to put some work into it. Technology is a double-edged sword. More things to keep up with and manage, but most of the time, it is a musician's best friend. Imagine a tour without GPS. YouTube (and many others) allows anyone's music to be heard across the world, for free. And social media is far more effective than posting fliers around town. We take these useful tools for granted, some of which didn't even exist 10 years ago.


Bryan Beller

BRYAN BELLER: -Being totally open for communication 24/7/365 in this social media day and age has its pluses and minuses. I personally think it's a net positive to be able to have direct access to fans and vice versa - it can strengthen the bond between you and those who follow you, and it enables an artist to be much clearer about who they really are in "public". I've been online and available for public e-mail since 1995, and for many years I made a point to respond to *every* *single* *communication* that came my way. Nowadays that's just not possible anymore, because of the sheer volume of responses from Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail, for which I'm grateful - but I still try. That said, it can be a hindrance to the essential practice of isolation required for creativity. It's pretty hard to grow as a composer and a player when you're just writing e-mails all the time. So I think I'm finding a balance, and everyone needs to find their own.


Sadiq Bey

SADIQ BEY: -Today the industry of music is in total disarray. And working musicians are professionals, so it’s a job.
There is something I call truth to ownership, against truth to power. Everybody is owned in music, in sports, in Hollywood. They make magic wands out of holly wood, ya know? And it’s about bucking and bowing to get jobs. If you don’t make your own label you’re screwed.


Jean-Paul Bourelly

JEAN-PAUL BOURELLY: -The music business crashed with 9/11. We have been building it back up, to keep the creative minded audience in tune with us and music has still evolved.



Lige Curry

LIGE CURRY: -I want to say to young musicians that they need to educate themselves. These days you can google any question. This is no joke. Some business deals are good, some business deals are bad. When you don’t update yourself you will find yourself in hot water. But try to keep a positive attitude. A lot of people can’t handle it. You have to treat the business side in a way so that it doesn’t take you out.


Jan Kincaid

JAN KINCAID: -The business has changed so much over the years. The people who have survived are the people who have changed with it.

We have to look at new ways of doing our work. You are in charge of your own destiny much more now than you were before. It also means that you have to be careful where you spend your money.

We came up in the traditional way, through the live-scene and through people who wanted to invest in us. Now acts are molded to suit a certain age group. But then records cost less to make. For the people who grow up with this, for the 19-year olds now, the new way is what’s natural. We have been young enough to go with the changes. If we were ten years older I think that we would have been struggling. 


Oz Noy

OZ NOY: - The music business crashed, and the same thing happened in New York too. It hit the city hard. New York is still the jazz center of the world, but the scene has changed. A lot of clubs have closed. And now it’s a pretty set reality. There is still good music, but a lot less of it in a lot less places. The only thing that got bigger is the Broadway shows. That’s great for Broadway but it’s not great for real music in my opinion cause Broadway is not music , its theater.

Andrew Steen

ANDREW STEEN: - The benefit of the major label-system was purely financial. They had time and effort to put into albums because there was money. The people contributing to a Pledge campaign want a return on their investment even if it's small. The majors wanted things to sell. People didn't represent themselves very well in that. You can release your home made music now and be judged on your own merit.


T.M. Stevens

TM STEVENS: -Everything is machines, and it has really hurt the business, and hurt artists who play and have studied, and that’s what I have done all my entire career. But the answer to this is you don’t follow that and give up. Never give up. This is for the young people. Listen to me. Do not give up. Whatever it is that you believe in, whatever it is that you feel, follow your dreams and your dreams will follow you. – And I particularly believe that we will get our business back.


Niko Stoessl

NIKO STOESSL: -I think that everything’s getting better though and that the music business will restructure itself again eventually, creating new sources of income for musicians who are willing to move forward.

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Will Calhoun: - Music is no different than life

Will Calhoun

 An article with Will Calhoun

Music is life. It is the things you experience. Life, love, stress, magic moments, moments that go down the drain. It’s no different than life.  I hear music when I’m not playing. I feel life when I play.

Music and spirituality came together in my life. Perhaps I wasn’t aware of the music at first.

The drums chose me. My influence was my older brother. He played very well and went professional at 13-14 years of age. There was a lot of musical talent in my neighborhood too. We lived in a two family house and my mother designated the first floor as a rehearsal- and performance studio. I saw my brother play all kinds of music there. I didn’t want to be a drummer at the time. But then my brother started to lose interest while I started to gain interest. In the beginning I played in my mother’s home and in the gospel choir.

I went professional at 16. I went to see Billy Cobham at the Bottom Line. It was a great venue. I was excited to see Billy Cobham. My uncle took me. He was a large man. He looked like a security guard, and he cleared the way for me. Suddenly back stage I saw Miles Davis. He hadn’t been for 6 years at the time. I was startled. My uncle told me to say hello to Miles, but I couldn’t talk. Miles said ‘’The young man who doesn’t speak’’, or something along those lines, to me. After that I went home and quit my sports teams, took a job, changed my life. My thought was ‘’I have to get to work now’’. Horace Arnold became my teacher, and he introduce me to the heroes of mine.

Last year I celebrated 25 years with Living Colour. I love working in that sphere of sound and in an environment affected by politics. Right now we are finishing a new CD. It is currently being mixed, and we plan on releasing it in the fall. We start touring again September 18.

With my band Will Calhoun Trio I have made a new recording titled ‘’Life In This World’’. I do a lot of music and produce, but jazz is my first love. And I love playing trios. I have travelled in the search for other percussive sounds and signatures. I have been to Mali, Senegal, Morocco. I bring a little of it to my live experience.

We have also started on the new Stone Raiders-record. Jean-Paul and Darryl have started ahead of me on that one.


Will Calhoun and Living Colour celebrating 25 years (2013)

Will Calhoun Trio: Will Calhoun, Marc Cary and Charnett Moffett at Blue Note



Having celebrated twenty-five years with Living Colour, Grammy Award-winning drummer Will Calhoun has also collaborated with a long list of the most established artists in music, been elected Best Drummer by Rolling Stone Magazine’s Critics Poll, and recorded solo projects.

Find out more HERE



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Guitar-virtuoso Jean-Paul Bourelly shares his thoughts

An article with Jean-Paul Bourelly

Jean-Paul Bourelly

An article with Jean-Paul Bourelly

   The first music that I heard was probably my grandmother singing. The first record I heard might have been one that my dad bought, 'The Music From Peter Gunn'.

Growing up in Chicago was great musically, because of the southern migration you had a lot of blues and jazz culture going on, but I was coming up at a depressed time for the music biz in Chicago none the less, as Chess Records had closed and Mercury had moved away. The culture was of course still there and blues and R&B Funk were heavy in the street and in the rhythm of the people on the southside. Legendary Chicago saxophonist Von Freeman was a staple to me as he had two jam sessionss were you could develop your sound. He had this fat jazz blues sound like Gene Ammons which was really like a Chicago sound.  My Haitian background on my father's side made me aware of the African Diaspora that my roots were coming from, so I was always dealing with two parallel identities. One was the American /Afro American side and the other was the African based aesthetic, and my name was Jean-Paul. I had to be tougher than my normal self with a name that looks like a girl's name in English. I had to make people understand where I was coming from so sports was a way to get understanding and acceptance as so was music. Those became my two passions until music won out. I was also playing with Haitian bands growing up. The overdriven sound came from Chicago. There was always that overdriven blues sound that happened when those southern black folk got a hold of amplifiers so I just wanted to move my theory into the jazz realm and take that sound with me.

Most people didn't draw on history so they would not know why Chicago was so important for the development of jazz blues,funk soul even house.
Chicago had been the epicenter of the black migration from the south so there was a lot of concentrated energy and information gathered in one place.
Just check out the story behind Bronzeville.

I was 15 when I started trying to get hired. In Chicago people tried to kill the stage every night, meaning there was a real fire to put energy in the music, while in NYC there was more sophistication and musicians had a lot of opportunity to play and experiment within a professional environment, so the music was more relaxed and ideas were coming from a multitude of places. When I moved to New York in the late 70'ies it was a cultural awakening for me. At that time New York and Los Angeles were very clearly the centers for art and media in the United States. I met so many more people who were so involved in their artistic work, and they were touring in Europe. In Chicago people had day jobs, in New York we had all night. I was asked to tone down my sound, and I lost a few jobs because of it. But no, I didn't tone down, and it served me better. The sound was a culmination of who I was so I could not have truncated it just to satisfy someone else.

So many people from my journey have a special place. Chico Hamilton... Olu Dara... Horn-players showed me how to move energy. I got that from horn-players. Music has to do with breath. A lot of times guitar players can bore you because they physically do not have to breathe to produce a sound so some see no reason to give breath in phrasing their ideas. One can just make continuous runs. For me it kills the tension.

Jean-Paul Bourelly

   I have lived in Berlin since the early 90'ies. There was a lot of cultural money here when I moved over. They were looking for ideas. I didn't want to live in New York at the time, I had been there for so long. In the US the arts are kept in the hands of middlemen and there is this clepto capitalist bent, it just stops the progress of expression. They're kept in a corner from the general population. The general population is kept distracted by other things ie what is Lady Gaga or Nicky Minaj up to, which bikini is Kim Kardashian wearing. This is the art that people can talk to you about. There's the race thing also and the economic symbolism and value system. Also many creative musicians aren't working in clubs anymore because there are not many, they're teaching, so compelling or more challenging music is now something in people's heads.

Europe is more tolerant. It's gone down a lot over the years here too but it's still kept alive although its still the domain of the elite. All over the world there is a dumbing down process going on controlled by strong media. Things are slowed down and called contemporary, things are called ahead of their time that are for right now.
The music business crashed with 9/11. We have been building it back up, to keep the creative minded audience in tuned with us and music has still evolved. Free form, neo-funk, trash jazz , there are so many words for it whatever you want to call it, we are still creating and we are still here for the people whenever they are curious enough to find us.

There are a lot of new possibilities with the internet, computer software development and through creating networks of interest. We work independently, but no man can work alone. Things are moving. Its an exciting time.


Jean-Paul Bourelly, 3 Kings, in 2013

Jean-Paul Bourelly, Stone Raiders, in 2012

Jean-Paul Bourelly with one of his world music projects, in 2005

Jean-Paul Bourelly, The Bluewave Bandits, 1997

Jean-Paul Bourelly is a guitar virtuoso, highly respected for his innovative style of jazzfusion, blues & rock-elements, who has played in countless bands and been the curator for world music projects. Bourelly's many collaborations include work with Elvin Jones, Buddy Miles and Cassandra Wilson, and he has also released solo-albums since the 80'ies. He is currently set to release an album with his band-project 3 Kings, while another noted band of his, Stone Raiders, is currently resting but planning on releasing a second album in the future. Find out more HERE.

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