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
Jazz Journalists Association
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.
“…plush and understated blanket of sound…a seamless sonic poem that grows with each listen…. There are wondrous stories to be found in everything the eye can see, the ear can hear, and the imagination can dream up. Scenes – the trio of guitarist John Stowell, bassist Jeff Johnson, and drummer John Bishop – has been readily and steadily making that point for more than fifteen years, 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.” –
Check out the new CD here!
Here’s an interview Matt and I did recently with Danish writer Jakob Baekgaarde, that ended up being the most comprehensive we’ve done in quite awhile about Origin Records. Visit All About Jazz….
“5-Stars…a work of true artistic mastery, and generational significance.”
Recorded in Cleveland at the end of an east coast tour, “Cubist” was released in February, 2018. Check it out at Origin Records!
Just wrapped up 3 weeks on the road with the Hal Galper Trio with special guest saxophonist, Jerry Bergonzi, where we developed new material that we recorded live at Blujazz and Tri-C. Looking forward to getting that out in Spring 2017.
Oct 2 – The Press Room, Portsmouth, NH
Oct 7 – The Lilypad, Cambridge, MA
Oct 8 – Small’s, New York City
Oct 9 – The 9th Note, Stamford, CT
Oct 10 – William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ
Oct 11 – Kent State University, Kent, OH
Oct 12 – BLU Jazz+, Akron, OH
Oct 13 – Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA
Oct 14 – TRI-C, Cleveland, OH
Coming up in November, we’ll be back with the trio for a quick weekend in Canada:
Nov 24 – Capilano College, VANCOUVER
Nov 25 – Frankie’s Jazz Club, VANCOUVER
Nov 26 – Yardbird Suite, EDMONTON
HAL GALPER TRIO – LIVE AT THE BLUE WHALE, NOVEMBER, 2014
For the first time in a long time, Bram Weijters and Piet Verbist will be heading this way from Belgium for a few gigs along with Chad McCullough and ME. Check out the schedule and then show up if you can!
CHAD McCULLOUGH / BRAM WEIJTERS GROUP:
Nov 3 – The Whistler, Chicago
Nov 4 – The Jazz Showcase, Chicago
Nov 5 – Merriman’s Playhouse, South Bend, IN
Nov 6 – Andy’s Jazz Club, Chicago
Nov 7 – Andy’s Jazz Club, Chicago
Nov 8 – Cliff Bell’s, Detroit
Right after Chicago, Jeff Johnson and I head to NYC to woodshed with Hal Galper and get together ideas for our next recording, due out Spring of 2016. Here’s another video from last fall’s tour to Southern California…
Also coming up in November is the release of Tom Collier’s new CD, “Across the Bridge,” featuring two rhythm sections: one with Bill Frisell, Ted Poor and Dan Dean, and the other with Larry Coryell, Dan Dean and me. Looking forward to this one coming out!
March – April 2014:
Look out for the Hal Galper Trio in a town near you (as long as a town near you is in Idaho, Seattle, Edmonton, or NYC!) as we play a few dates preparing for a mid-March recording session. The new CD should be out in September and will be entitled “Soft.” Hal’s idea was to do a whole album with me on brushes. Sounds like it could be the makings for a nice background disc…. don’t count on it!
Mar 05, 2014 – Hal Galper Trio: The Bleu Note Boise, Boise, ID
Mar 06, 2014 – Hal Galper Trio: College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls, ID
Mar 07, 2014 – Hal Galper Trio: Tula’s Jazz Club, Seattle, WA
Mar 08, 2014 – Hal Galper Trio: Yardbird Suite, Edmonton, AB
Mar 10, 2014 – Hal Galper Trio: MacEwan University, Edmonton
Mar 20, 2014 – Hal Galper Trio: Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY
Mar 21, 2014 – Hal Galper Trio: Small’s, New York, NY
And then April will bring the 12th annual BALLARD JAZZ FESTIVAL, April 16-19. It’s coming together now and we’re looking forward to welcoming the legendary saxophonist Sonny Fortune and the Spanish pianist, Chano Dominguez as our mainstage artists. It will be GOOD! Keep checking back at www.ballardjazzfestival.com for updates and tickets.
See you out there!
The best summer in Seattle ever, and it just doesn’t want to stop! I’ll gladly accept the sun for however long it would like to shine on our little parade. I’m hoping this talk about the weather will inspire me to keep this page semi-up-to-date. I’d hate to sound so flowery as the rains pummel for the 40th straight day (oh yeah, it’s coming!)…
So much to share in the half yearly “dear diary” update. Starting with record biz news – we had our UK distributor bag their jazz division just as our European distributor went bankrupt! Fortunately, we made some nice new friends at the JazzAhead Convention in Bremen and set up a way better situation than what we had before. Challenge Records is, besides being a top-flight jazz label, a top-flight distributor with offices in many countries and sub-distributors worldwide. We’re very excited to see how this all plays out. JazzAhead was a great experience and we’re looking forward to hitting it for the next few years at least, followed always with a trip to Antwerp to see our fine Belgian friends. Just wrapping up now the final 5 new releases for this year, making a total of 40 for 2013. I’m not sure how we keep up, but there is SO MUCH great music being made, I hate to miss out on whatever each new one adds to the label. Keep clicking on www.originarts.com so you don’t miss these pups either.
We had the great Ernie Watts in town for our 15th Anniversary (yeah, a year late) showcase at Bumbershoot. We reconvened New Stories and did 3 dates with Ernie in Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC. A great time. Coming up this fall, after a vacation in Colombia, I’ll be with Hal Galper and Jeff Johnson in a swing through Texas (doing a workshop at my old alma mater, the former North Texas State), Oklahoma, and Kentucky and then race to Russia for a festival in Krasnodar with Chad McCullough, Bram Weijters and Piet Verbist. It’s all in my calendar. Come along!