John Bishop

John Bishop

Instrument: Drums | Location: Seattle

Bishop’s drumming is unfailingly imaginative and fervid.
—CODA Magazine

Updated: May 28, 2021

Born: April 5, 1959

“One can hear many influences in Bishop’s playing, including more than a touch of Elvin, but he is clearly an original voice…” - Percussive Note

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. 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, Jack Sheldon, 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.

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 550 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 600 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).

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”Deft-limbed, wildly eclectic, and renowned for his sympathetic ear, Seattle drummer John Bishop is a veritable jazz-renaissance man who, besides founding his own label (Origin Records), has supported legends such as Bobby McFerrin, Carla Bley, and Slide Hampton.” -Bumbershoot Festival Guide

“On this adventurous, open-ended trio outing, the Seattle-based drummer and founder of Origin Records forges an extraordinary, freewheeling chemistry with kindred spirits Jeff Johnson on bass and Rick Mandyck on alto sax. A ubiquitous figure on the northwest jazz scene, Bishop's first recording under his own name runs the gamut of dynamics from a spacious, hymnlike cover of Curtis Lundy's “Orange Blossom,” underscored by Bishop's ultrasensitive brushwork, to an off-kilter funk number, Johnson's “Hurt Brothers,” fueled by the drummer's insistent, slamming backbeats.” -BILL MILKOWSKI (JazzTimes Review of “Nothing if Not Something”)

“The New Stories trio is likewise nothing less than extraordinary

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Primary Instrument




Willing to teach

Advanced only


Private teaching for 35 years. Former faculty at the University of Washington.


Against Silence

From: The Poets Are Gathering
By John Bishop

The Edge

From: Humble Origins
By John Bishop

Three French Nuns

From: Silent Photographer
By John Bishop

All Day Pass

From: Nothing if Not Something
By John Bishop

John Bishop Albums