All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Jimmy Gourley

Jimmy Gourley Jimmy Gourley

James Pasco Gourley, Jr. was an American jazz guitarist who spent most of his life in Paris.

Gourley was born in St. Louis in 1926. He met saxophonist Lee Konitz in Chicago when both were members of the same high school band. He credits Konitz with encouraging him to become a serious musician. Gourley's father started the Monarch Conservatory of Music in Hammond, Indiana, though he didn't teach, and he bought Gourley his first guitar. Gourley took his first guitar classes at the school. He became interested in jazz while listening to the radio, enjoying in particular Nat King Cole. For his first professional experience as a performer, he dropped out of high school to play with a jazz band in Oklahoma City.

From 1944–1946, Gourley served in the U.S. Navy. After he returned to Chicago, he met guitarist Jimmy Raney and wanted to play like him. He worked in bars and clubs with Jackie Cain & Roy Kral, Anita O'Day, Sonny Stitt, and Gene Ammons. Through the G.I. Bill, he received tuition for three years to any college in the world.

Beginning in 1951, Gourley spent the rest of his life in France, working with Henri Renaud, Lou Bennett, Kenny Clarke, Richard Galliano, Stéphane Grappelli, Bobby Jaspar, Eddy Louiss, Martial Solal, and Barney Wilen. He played with American musicians who were passing through, including Bob Brookmeyer, Clifford Brown, Stan Getz, Gigi Gryce, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz, Bud Powell, Zoot Sims, Lucky Thompson, and Lester Young


Tags

Albums

Similar

Kenny Burrell Kenny Burrell
guitar, electric
Charlie Christian Charlie Christian
guitar, electric
T-Bone Walker T-Bone Walker
guitar, electric
Jimmy Raney Jimmy Raney
guitar, electric
Bob Lark Bob Lark
trumpet
Tiny Grimes Tiny Grimes
guitar
Duke Robillard Duke Robillard
guitar, electric
Tommy Newsom Tommy Newsom
saxophone

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.