John Bishop: Nothing if Not Something (2006)
John Bishop heads one of the most dynamic new jazz labels, Origin Records, out of Seattle, Washington. In addition to his chores running the company, Bishop also designs some of the coolest cover art out there. Origin has released two hundred-plus CDs, garnering four Grammy nominations along the way.
Bishop plays some drums, too, co-leading a fully intregrated piano trio, New Stories, and he sits in the drummer's chair on dozens of Origin recordings. In spite of all the activity, he is apparently not one to seek out the spotlight: Nothing if Not Something is only the second release under his own name, a trio outing with bassist Jeff Johnson (who has played with Philly Joe Jones, Hal Galper, and Jessica Williams) and alto saxophonist Rick Mandyck (Mark Murphy, Billy Hart, and Lawrence Marable).
The set explores a mostly introspective musical world, much in the mode of Johnson's excellent Near Earth (Origin, 2004). Johnson's bass has an expansive depth, laying a foundation of heft and solidity to complement the airiness of Mandyck's long sweet lines, and Bishop, a wonderfully creative and fluid percussionist who weaves an often understated but complex web of textures, waxes orchestral on the drum kit.
This alluring trio set maintains Origin Records' tradition of outstanding music with a contemplative free sound infused with extroversion and heat, similar in tone to Tony Malaby's Adobe (Sunnyside, 2004).
Track Listing: Sari; All Days Pass; Orange Blossom; Anata Wa Utsukushi; Hurt Brothers; Lady in Black; Taking Forever; Lost & Found; Gone.
Personnel: Rick Mandyck: alto saxophone; Jeff Johnson: bass; John Bishop: drums.