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Jean-Paul Bourelly


Jean-Paul Bourelly’s decision to cover compositions by Jimi Hendrix is a nervy one, especially considering that every African-American guitarist who even looks at a wah-wah pedal is immediately compared to the seminal axe wielder. But Tribute is neither a mawkish “classic rock” homage nor a disastrous attempt at imitation. As previous Bourelly collections like Trippin’ and Saints and Sinners prove, the guitarist has developed his own personal and squalling take on the blues tradition. Indeed, his readings of “Power of Soul” and “Who Knows”—tributes to Hendrix’s still-undersung compositional talents—are ready for the dance floors of the ’90s. The leader’s knowledge of and respect for the numerous musical strands that Hendrix wove into his aural tapestries bolsters the stunning lyricism at the heart of “(Have You Ever Been to) Electric Ladyland.” On this track, vocalist Irene Datcher caresses the title’s lovely theme and dreamy harmonies, while the leader’s tasteful solo lines are as bold and romantic as the best material in Hendrix’s canon.