Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » John Bishop / Bram Weijters / Piet Verbist: Antwerp


John Bishop / Bram Weijters / Piet Verbist: Antwerp


Sign in to view read count
John Bishop / Bram Weijters / Piet Verbist: Antwerp
Drummer John Bishop, the guy who runs Seattle's Origin Records, does not often put out records under his own name. There was Nothing If Not Something (Origin Records) in 2005, review here, and then nothing until the disc at hand, 2023's Antwerp. Not that Bishop has avoided the recording studio. He is, as a sideman, in fact quite prolific, sitting in on Hal Galper's string of rubato-style piano trio sets—one example: Trip the Light Fantastic (Origin Records, 2011), review here, and first-rate recordings headed up by guitarist John Stowell, trumpeter, Chad McCullough and Bram Weijters' Abstract Quantities (Origin Records, 2014), and many more. All this is in addition to running a record label and creating some of the coolest cover art out there.

Antwerp finds Bishop back in the company of pianist Bram Weijters and bassist Piet Verbist, both of whom played on the previously mentioned Chad McCullough & Bram Weijters outing. We could call this Bishop's Belgian trio.

The set—that includes three compositions from bassist Verbist, three form pianist Weijters, one each from Carla Bley, Hal Galper and Henry Mancini—has a life-affirming, celebratory quality. This is a trio of old friends gathered in Belgium's second-largest city to make jubilant jazz and slip into, as occasionally and unpredictably happens, a communal groove that takes the music to the highest level. Did they come out of the studio saying, "Wow. We nailed it." They could have. This is, according to Bishop, about "Ales, waffles & fries, and many days/nights spent with new then old friends, and celebration from a feeling for a particular place." And the results say everything fell into place. And magic happened.

From the opener, Weijters' rollicking "Ruchsichtslos," to Galper's "Trip the Light Fantastic," rendered here with an introspective flair rather than the note jumbling displayed on the rendition on Galper's previously mentioned album of the same name, to Verbist's extraordinarily pretty "Pointing At The Moon," which features the bassist taking the lead in front of the pianist's deft accompaniment, to Verbist's flamenco-flavored "Bull" to the slow, deliberate, gorgeous take on Mancini's "Two For The Road," showcasing a classic tune to perfection, Antwerp stands out as a blue ribbon piano trio album, certainly one of the year's finest.

Coloring a couple of tunes here—Mancini's "Two For the Road" and the closer, Weijter's "Contemplative," dedicated, respectively, to the recently passed mothers of Piet Verbist and John Bishop—is a mood characterized by a sadness at the passings that seems ultimately brightened by lovingly effervescent memories.

Just when it seemed that John Bishop might not release another album under his own name, he came up with a jewel. Given the quality and zest heard here, the level of the tunesmithing and musicianship, the joyfully percussive trio dynamic, a string of recordings along the lines of the Hal Galper rubato trio outings seems like a grand idea.

Track Listing

Ruchsichtslos; Trip the Light Fantastic; Pointing At The Moon; Bull; Lawns; The Same Melody; For Less Than Nothing; Two For The Road; Contemplative.


Piet Verbist
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Antwerp | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Origin Records

< Previous
Pastor's Paradox




For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


Central Park's Mosaics of Reservoir, Lake, Paths...
Wadada Leo Smith and Amina Claudine Myers
Water Music
Ivo Perelman Quartet
Ancestral Numbers I
Jason Robinson


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.