Gypsy jazz guitar



Boulou Ferré (born Jean-Jacques Ferret, 24 April 1951) is a French virtuoso jazz guitarist, composer, arranger, and improviser. He is the brother of Elios Ferré, also a jazz musician, with whom he has recorded widely. He has a repertoire that includes jazz and classical music. He is considered one of the greatest contemporary musicians of the manouche (gypsy jazz) tradition and has contributed to the genre through his knowledge of both jazz and classical music and his interest in the contrapuntal music of J. S. Bach.

Boulou Ferré was born in Paris and came from a family of musicians. His father, Matelo Ferret, and his uncle, Baro Ferret, played with Django Reinhardt in the Quintet of the Hot Club of France. His brother, Elios Ferré, is also a guitarist. By the age of seven, he was playing solos by saxophonist Charlie Parker on guitar. When he was eight, he gave his first concert, and when he was twelve he recorded his debut album.

In 1962 Ferré enrolled at the Conservatoire de Paris, taking classes in piano, classical guitar, and organ, the latter under Olivier Messiaen. The influence of Messian was formative in Ferré's approach to classical music, counterpoint, and J. S. Bach, whose music has influenced his approach to composition. After the Conservatore, he became an organist at a Paris cathedral and developed his style of jazz improvisation and composition.

When he was 13, Ferré played with John Coltrane at the Jazz à Juan festival in Antibes. In 1966 he recorded the album Paris All-Stars with Michel Gaudry, Maurice Vander, and Eddy Louiss. In 1969 he gave a series of recitals at the Chat qui peche Jazz Club with saxophonist Dexter Gordon, bassist Patrice Caratini, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. In the 1970s he recorded and played with Bob Reid, Chet Baker, Steve Lacy, Gunter Hampel, Kenny Clarke, Warne Marsh, Svend Asmussen, and Louis Vola.

In 1974 Ferré formed the Corporation Gypsy Orchestra with Steve Potts, Christian Escoudé, and pianist Takashi Kako. The group recorded with SteepleChase Records in 1979. In the same year he formed Trio Gitan with Escoudé and Babik Reinhardt and in 1988 with Philippe Combelle.

He formed a duo with his brother, Elio, in 1978, under the name Ferré instead of Ferret.

On 10 April 2012, Boulou was made Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by Frédéric Mitterrand, French Minister of Culture.


  • Bluesette, (Barclay, 1964)
  • C'est si bon, (Barclay, 1964)
  • Jazz/Left Bank (with les Paris All Stars), (Barclay, 1965)
  • Boulou & les Paris All Stars, (Barclay, 1966)
  • Boulou & The Corporation Gypsy Orchestra, (Barclay, 1974)
  • Pour Django, (SteepleChase , 1979)
  • Gypsy Dreams, (SteepleChase, 1980)
  • Trinity (with NHOP), (SteepleChase, 1983)
  • Relax and Enjoy (with Jesper Lundgaard & Ed Thigpen), (SteepleChase, 1985)
  • Nuages (with Jesper Lundgaard), (SteepleChase, 1986)
  • Confirmation (with Jesper Lundgaard & Ed Thigpen), (SteepleChase, 1989)
  • Guitar Legacy, (SteepleChase, 1991)
  • New York, New York (with George Cables, Jay Anderson & Billy Hart), (SteepleChase, 1997)
  • Intersection (with Alain Jean-Marie), (Frémeaux/La Lichère, 2002)
  • The Rainbow of Life (with Alain Jean-Marie & Gilles Naturel), (Bee Jazz, 2003)
  • Shades of a Dream (with Ricardo Del Fra) (Bee Jazz, 2004)
  • Live in Marciac (with Christian Escoudé and Babik Reinhardt), (Harmonia Mundi, 2008)
  • Brothers to Brothers (with Lionel + Stephane Balmondo, P. Boussaguet, A. Jean-Marie) (Harmonia Mundi, 2008)
  • Complete Barclays Recordings, (Universal, 2012)
  • Jazz Guitar


  • Argentine