“One can hear many influences in Bishop’s playing, including more than a touch of Elvin, but he is clearly an original voice…” – Percussive Notes
As a drummer, educator, record label owner, graphic designer, publisher, and festival presenter, John Bishop has been one of the primary voices in Northwest Jazz for over 35 years. As a drummer, he has performed in concerts and clubs with Bobby McFerrin, Lee Konitz, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, George Cables, Kenny Werner, Bobby Hutcherson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Sonny Fortune, Herb Ellis, Buddy DeFranco, Joe Locke, Jerry Bergonzi, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Larry Coryell, and countless others. He’s appeared on more than 100 albums, and was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame in 2008.
“…the high level of integration and communication Hal Galper’s trio displays is rare and quite thrilling to experience…”
Presently, Bishop is a member of New York pianist Hal Galper’s Trio, where over the last decade, they’ve released 5 albums and toured the U.S., Canada and Europe. Other ongoing projects include Scenes with guitarist John Stowell & bassist Jeff Johnson, and the Chad McCullough & Bram Weijters Group, a Belgian/American project.
“Bishop’s drumming is unfailingly imaginative and fervid.” – CODA Magazine
Born in Seattle and raised in Germany, Washington, DC, San Antonio and Eugene, Bishop started playing drums at 9 in Washington, DC with the Patriots drum corp. He performed regularly throughout high school and college in Oregon, attending the University of Oregon and North Texas State University. He moved to Seattle in 1981 for an extended engagement with his 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 1983, he became a member of the fusion group Blue Sky, which released two National Top 10 albums and performed extensively throughout the west coast and Canada over the next 9 years. For 20 years, he was a member of the piano trio New Stories along with pianist Marc Seales and bassist Doug Miller. They had 4 CDs of their own, 6 with the late be-bop saxophonist Don Lanphere, and a Grammy-nominated RCA recording with Mark Murphy. They were a house trio for 17 years at Bud Shank’s Pt. Townsend Jazz Festival, headlined the 1993 JVC Jazz Festival in Vladivostok, Russia, appeared in concert with Tom Harrell, Julian Priester, Charles McPherson, Vincent Herring, Nick Brignola, Conte Condoli, Bobby Shew & Larry Coryell, and regularly appeared around the country by themselves or touring with Mark Murphy, Ernie Watts or Don Lanphere. Their music was included on a compilation CD for Universal Music entitled: “Repertoire: A Starbuck’s Collection of Unforgettable Piano Jazz,” and was embedded as a music sample in Windows XP. Their recording, “Hope is in the Air: the Music of Elmo Hope,” was produced by Don Sickler, recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, and spent several months on the national airplay charts.
“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 for 35 years and was on the 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 recent 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 Jazz School-Berkeley, and Kent State University, among many others.
In 1997, Bishop started the jazz label Origin Records (named Jazzweek’s 2009 “Label Of The Year”) and OriginArts, a graphic design & CD production company, to help further the exposure of creative artists and their music. In partnership with his ex-drum student, Matt Jorgensen, they have released over 500 recordings by 300 artists from around the world. 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 550 CD packages and multiple 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 MIDEM (Cannes), the Grammys, JazzConnect (NYC), JazzWeek (San Jose), NAMM, PASIC, and JazzAhead (Bremen).
He has a wife, a dog and 3 cats, and drives Volvos exclusively…