The avant garde movement in jazz really ended for all intents and purposes sometime during the mid to late '70s. Sure, people like Cecil Taylor, Henry Threadgill, Joe Maneri, and many others continue to stretch the boundaries, but the audience for such music is arguably very small. Guitarist Jean-Paul Bourelly has come through the back door in his attempt to validate an ambitious avant union of blues, rock, and jazz sensibilities. As a sideman with such name players as Chico Hamilton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Coleman, Marc Ribot, and David Murray, Bourelly fostered his electric and eclectic approach. Imagine if you will a combination of Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters and you get somewhat of a picture.
BOOM BOP is Bourelly's tenth disc as a leader and it maintains a strong African groove throughout its duration, with Senegalese vocalist Abdourahmane Diop chanting in his native tongue. "Free thing" legend Archie Shepp shouts and wallops here and there, as does alto man Henry Threadgill on a few cuts. Bourelly's sound is sweetly stinging at times, but ferociously blunt in some places too. His solo piece, "Root One," finds the guitarist using just his acoustic in a bluesy fashion, with the title basically something things up. In the final analysis, this record won't be for everyone, but those with a taste toward the adventurous and those who appreciate contemporary African fare will find much to enjoy here.