“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
One of the primary voices in Northwest Jazz for 30 years, drummer John Bishop has performed in concerts and clubs with Bobby McFerrin, Lee Konitz, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, George Cables, Kenny Werner, Bobby Hutcherson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Joanne Brackeen, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Joe Locke, and countless others. Along with numerous jingle, film-score, demo & multi-media recording sessions, he’s appeared on more than 90 albums including sessions involving Rudy Van Gelder & Teo Macero, and a Grammy-nominated recording on RCA with singer Mark Murphy. Bishop was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame in 2008.
Presently, Bishop records and tours with the Hal Galper Trio, the cooperative bands – “Scenes” with John Stowell & Jeff Johnson, and “Wellstone Conspiracy” with Brent Jensen, Bill Anschell, & Jeff Johnson, and with the Chad McCullough & Bram Weijters Group, a Belgian/American project.
“Bishop’s drumming is unfailingly imaginative and fervid.” – CODA Magazine
Born in Seattle and raised in Germany, Washington, DC, San Antonio and Eugene, Bishop started playing drums at 9 in Washington, DC with the Patriots drum corp. He played in multiple bands throughout jr. high, high school and college, attending the University of Oregon and North Texas State University. He moved to Seattle in 1981.
For 20 years, he was a member of the piano trio New Stories along with pianist Marc Seales and bassist Doug Miller. They had 4 CDs of their own, and 6 with the late be-bop saxophone great Don Lanphere, among others. They were a house trio for 17 years at Bud Shank’s Pt. Townsend Jazz Festival, headlined the 1993 JVC Jazz Festival in Vladivostok, Russia, appeared in concert with Tom Harrell, Sonny Fortune, Charles McPherson, Vincent Herring, Nick Brignola, Bobby Shew, Jon Faddis, & Larry Coryell, and regularly appeared around the country by themselves or performing with Mark Murphy or Ernie Watts. Their music was included on a compilation for Universal Music entitled: “Repertoire: A Starbuck’s Collection of Unforgettable Piano Jazz,” and their track "Highway Blues" was a music sample in Windows XP. Their recording, “Hope is in the Air: the Music of Elmo Hope,” was produced by Don Sickler, recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, and peaked at #6 on the airplay charts.
“The New Stories trio is likewise nothing less than extraordinary. Drummer John Bishop, particularly, is one of the finest on the scene.” – Jazz Review
In 1997, Bishop started 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 400 recordings by 280 artists. In 2002 they added another jazz label, OA2 Records, a classical imprint, Origin Classical in 2008, and in 2003 began Seattle’s annual Ballard Jazz Festival. He has designed 450 CD packages and multiple book covers, banners, posters, and other graphics for clients around the globe.
"Great music without exception...a terrific organization and in my opinion, Bishop is one of the best cover designers in the world."
- Rudolf Radnai, Muszerordal, Budapest, Hungary
- Astor Piazolla - Tango: Zero Hour
- John Coltrane - Sunship
- Bill Evans - You Must Believe In Spring
- Paul Motian - On Broadway, Pt. 2
- Miles Davis - The Complete 1964 Concert