“One can hear many influences in Bishop’s playing, including more than a touch of Elvin, but he is clearly an original voice…”   Percussive Arts Society

As a drummer, educator, record label owner, graphic designer, and festival presenter, John Bishop has been one of the primary voices in Northwest Jazz for 40 years. He has performed in concerts and clubs with Lee Konitz, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, Bobby Hutcherson, Ernestine Anderson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Sonny Fortune, Herb Ellis, Gary Peacock, Buddy DeFranco, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, and countless others. He’s appeared on more than 100 albums, including sessions with Hal Galper, Larry Coryell, Ernie Watts, Mark Murphy, Joe Locke, Bud Shank, George Cables, Ralph Towner, Teo Macero, and Jerry Bergonzi. He was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame in 2008 and was named a “Jazz Hero” by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2019.

“Great music without exception…a terrific organization and in my opinion, Bishop is one of the best cover designers in the world.”
Rudolf Radnai, Muszerordal, Budapest, Hungary

In 1997, Bishop started the jazz label Origin Records, and OriginArts, a graphic design & CD production company, to help further the exposure of creative artists and their music. With the help of his ex-drum student, Matt Jorgensen, they have released over 800 recordings by 370 artists from around the world. Origin was named Jazzweek’s 2009 “Label Of The Year” and is regularly a DownBeat Magazine Reader’s Poll Top 20 Jazz Label. In 2002 they added another jazz label, OA2 Records, a classical imprint, Origin Classical in 2008, and in 2003 began Seattle’s annual 4-day Ballard Jazz Festival. Bishop has designed over 850 CD packages and numerous book covers, banners, posters, and other graphics for clients around the globe. He was on the PNW Chapter Board of Governors of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, and annually takes part in multiple music conferences & events, including JazzCongress (NYC), JazzWeek (San Jose), JazzAhead (Bremen), Jazz Education Network, and occasionally, NAMM, PASIC, MIDEM (Cannes), and the Grammys.

“…the high level of integration and communication Hal Galper’s trio displays is rare and quite thrilling to experience…”  DOWNBEAT

Along with bassist Jeff Johnson, Bishop was a member of New York pianist Hal Galper’s Trio over the last 15 years, releasing 7 acclaimed albums and touring internationally. They also performed with Spanish pianist Chano Dominguez, including an appearance at the 60th Monterey Jazz Festival, and are members of the 25-year-old collective Scenes with guitarist John Stowell & saxophonist Rick Mandyck. Bishop has also toured Belgium and recorded 3 albums since 2009 with the Chad McCullough / Bram Weijters Group, a Belgian/American project. Bishop’s 2023 trio album “Antwerp,” was recorded in Belgium with Piet Verbist & Bram Weijters.

The set has a life-affirming, celebratory quality…Antwerp stands out as a blue-ribbon piano trio album, certainly one of the year’s finest.All About Jazz

Born in Seattle and raised in Germany, Washington, DC, San Antonio and Eugene, Bishop started playing drums at 7 in Washington, DC with the Patriots drum corp. He performed professionally while attending high school and college in Oregon, and studied privately with Motown great, Mel Brown, at the University of Oregon with Charles Dowd, and with Ray Hair at North Texas State University. He moved to Seattle in 1981 for an extended engagement with the original jazz/fusion group Glider and never left. An unusually creative and fertile scene at the time, Seattle offered performances with top touring artists and the opportunity to create long and substantial musical relationships with inspired Northwest musicians.

In the early ’80s, he was a member of the fusion group Blue Sky, which released two Top 10 albums and performed extensively throughout the decade. For 20 years, he was with the piano trio New Stories along with pianist Marc Seales and bassist Doug Miller. They had 4 CDs of their own, 6 with be-bop saxophonist Don Lanphere, and a Grammy-nominated RCA release with Mark Murphy. They were regulars at Bud Shank’s Pt. Townsend Jazz Festival, headlined the 1993 JVC Jazz Festival in Vladivostok, Russia, and appeared in concerts with Tom Harrell, Julian Priester, Charles McPherson, Vincent Herring, Nick Brignola, Conte Condoli, Bobby Shew & Larry Coryell. They also performed around the country as a trio or touring with Mark Murphy, Ernie Watts or Don Lanphere. Their tune “Highway Blues,” from Speakin’ Out, was embedded as one of two music samples in Windows XP, which went on to sell 700 million units. Their 2014 recording, Hope is in the Air: the Music of Elmo Hope, was produced by Don Sickler & engineered by Rudy Van Gelder at his studio in NJ.

“The New Stories trio is likewise nothing less than extraordinary. Drummer John Bishop, particularly, is one of the finest on the scene.” Jazz Review

He’s taught drums privately since 1976 and was on faculty at the University of Washington from 2005-2009. He regularly does drum and jazz workshops throughout the country with the Hal Galper Trio, including events at the University of North Texas, University of Indiana, Dartmouth, Cal Arts, The New School, Purchase Conservatory-NYC, William Paterson University, University of Louisville, San Jose State University, The California Jazz Conservatory, and Kent State University. In 2018, Bishop co-founded The Real(ity) Book, a web-based, HD Video Play-Along education system for jazz musicians.

Bishop has also toured internationally with Buddy Greco, the McGuire Sisters, and the Harry James Orchestra, and performed with Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Bob Newhart, Rich Little, The Hi-Los, Frankie Avalon, the Drifters, the Coasters, the Platters, Pete Barbutti, and with Bobby McFerrin & the Seattle Symphony, among many others.

He has an understanding wife, 2 dogs & a cat, and drives Volvos exclusively…

For a more complete list of recording credits, visit my All Music Guide page here