For a record label, as I see it, there are very few accolades more glorious than this particular poll… so we’ll take it! Thanks to DownBeat for keeping it relevant and for all the voters who think it through before clicking on the little box each year. This is always fun!
“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.” Dan McClenaghan, ALL ABOUT JAZZ
“Believe it or not, in all the years I’ve been reviewing jazz, this is my first encounter with such definitively distinctive jazz….it certainly shows a level of creativity that few players can achieve…” Dick Metcalf, Contemporary Fusion
Available Worldwide: NOVEMBER 17, 2023 | For more information, go HERE
Carrying on a widely varied career over several decades, it’s through membership in several long-lived trios where Seattle drummer John Bishop’s musical voice is probably most apparent. With New York pianist Hal Galper’s acclaimed “rubato” trio over the last 15 years, the band Scenes with guitarist John Stowell for another 20, or the piano trio New Stories which started in the mid-80s, each provided a committed vision with a focus on the collective narrative. With that, it’s no surprise that Bishop would deliver another trio as the first album under his own name in 15 years. First meeting pianist Bram Weijters and bassist Piet Verbist in Belgium in 2010 through a quartet with trumpeter Chad McCullough, they went on to do yearly tours, performing 100+ concerts, and releasing 3 albums over its 8 years. Continuing yearly trips to Antwerp following the pandemic, the thought of recording a trio with Piet & Bram came in a flash of gratitude for their friendship, musicianship and the ongoing adventures that the first Antwerp visit inspired. Theirs is a sound evolved from mutual admiration and the joy of creation.
“… harnessing natural beauty and concocting chimerical designs that extol the virtues of elasticity, mutability, and high-level communication. The Pacific Northwest knows no greater champion of its beyond-words beauty than this outfit.” ALL ABOUT JAZZ
Rick Mandyck – tenor / John Stowell – guitar / Jeff Johnson – bass / John Bishop – drums
Recorded in 2014 in Brussels, this is a video of “Billions” from our 3rd album, “Abstract Quantities.” Available here!
20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know: John Bishop
“To say that John Bishop has had a profound impact on the life of jazz music in the Pacific Northwest, and more specifically, the city of Seattle, would be a sizable understatement. His influence has cast a spotlight on the vibrant Seattle scene on an international scale. As a musician, record label owner, festival presenter, graphic designer and educator, he has contributed mightily to the profound sense of community that exists presently and historically in his home city and abroad.”
“…they have revealed a work of true artistic mastery, and generational significance. In many ways, it personifies the direction of jazz music into the 21st century, a mantle to be grasped and moved forward by generation next.” ALL ABOUT JAZZ
In his fifth decade as a major jazz artist, Hal Galper continues the innovation that has made him one of the most surprising and satisfying pianists alive. His 21st century series of albums for Origin over the last 12 years incorporates the elasticity of rubato performing as a means of melding melodic lyricism with the visceral rhythmic excitement of bebop. This 8th recording in the series highlights the deep musical bond of his trio, with bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop, and their uncanny ability to slip into “The Zone” – where self awareness is abandoned and the music is allowed to control the proceedings. Performed in the inviting environs of the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton, Canada, it was months later that the recording from the soundboard was reviewed. Asking “Who is this piano player?,” Galper recognized the music was coming from a deeper than conscious place and that documenting the trio deeply in ‘the zone,’ and in the wild, was necessary. “…a moment of thrilling uncertainty, slightly airborne and stretched out in unusual shapes and motions, and (the moment extended) out for the length of a song, each and every time.” – Wondering Sound.
Check out The Zone here
Matt Jorgensen / John Bishop – 2019 Seattle Jazz Heroes
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. Drummer and percussionist, bandleader and composer, concert tour director and road manager Matt Jorgensen is the epitome of a modern jazzman, with a keenly personal musical voice, plus the wherewithal to help the music reach its potential audience.
In 1997, Bishop started the jazz label Origin Records (named “Label of the Year” by Jazzweek in 2009) and OriginArts, a graphic design & CD production company, to help further the exposure of creative artists and their music. Jorgensen soon became his business partner. What Bishop told The Seattle Times back in 2002 still sums up their mission: “I’ve often thought that if somebody came to town and went out to hear music at one of the standard venues, what impression would they go away with? I know all these great players, but you never hear them doing their own music. Something has got to happen as far as getting the good music out there.”
Origin was that something, with companion labels OA2 and Origin Classical having to date released more than 600 CDs, including titles by Seattle stalwarts Jay Thomas, Dawn Clement, Chuck Deardorf, Marc Seales and Bill Anschell, as well as nationally-known figures based elsewhere. Handsomely-designed and professionally-promoted, Origin discs are a source of great pride for Seattle.
In 2003 Bishop and Jorgensen expanded operations to launch the annual four-day Ballard Jazz Festival, which highlights the thriving Seattle neighborhood of old town Ballard and features Seattle’s world-class players. Over 15 years the Ballard Jazz Festival has gained an enviable international reputation, recognized for featuring some 80 Pacific Northwest artists every year among top exciting, progressive headliners.
It’s not often that jazz musicians respected in their own rights as players also become accomplished presenters and producers, aiders and abettors of others, creating opportunities and nurturing the jazz community at large. It’s hard to imagine the Seattle jazz scene without the contributions made over the past three decades by Jazz Heroes John Bishop and Matt Jorgensen.