Most local jazz listeners know Bishop as a sideman modernist who can also play in older styles, but when he steps out on his own he favors more adventurous stuff. He began avant-garde explorations in Wichita, where he was a member of Craig Owens's Bodo Ensemble, and when the opportunity presents itself, he puts together projects that reflect his need to press into new musical areas. Indeed, he and Tim Flood are the only musicians to have performed at every Edgefest, the international creative music festival that takes place in Ann Arbor each fall. I still remember the impact of his amazing Hank Williams Project from 1997, which combined Nashville with downtown New York in a singular and idiosyncratic manner.
Other projects have followed, but some of his best work, both as instrumentalist and composer, has been presented over the years in the context of a trio with bassist Flood and drummer Gerald Cleaver. Flood lives in Ann Arbor, but Detroiter Cleaver has relocated to New York, where he is now busy playing and recording with some of the leading players of the new music. They reunite on Tuesday, May 17, at Kerrytown Concert House in celebration of their CD Time and Imaginary Time.
[Originally published in May, 2005.]