Jean-Paul Bourelly was born in Chicago Illinois on November 23, 1960. He took an early interest in music, starting piano lessons from the age of 4. At age 9, when his cousin Brain Jones, played him tracks from the Hendrix album Band of Gypsy’s, he realized that the electric guitar could lead a to vast new world of expression.
He was thirteen when he finally started to take lessons and playing with friend, learning basic blues and rock songs. By the age of 16, he was performing in the local south side clubs, there meeting other musicians like Lonnie Plaxico, Steve Coleman and Darryle Jones and playing in local jam session, most notably session run by Chicago legend Von Freeman. NEW YORK Two years later in 1979 Bourelly followed the music to New York, with his goal set on, one day performing with the drummer Elvin Jones. He performed with Chico Hamilton, Roy Haynes, Olu Dara and composer pianist Muhal Richard Abrams upon his arrival, experiencing diverse sides of New York’s vibrant jazz scene. Finally in 1983 he got the call to join Elvin Jones’s Jazz Machine, touring with him for two years and having performed in several different lineups that included Richard Davis, McCoy Tyner and Pharaoh Sanders.