Walter Bishop Jr.

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Walter Bishop Jr.
Walter Bishop, Jr..jpg
Background information
Also known as Ibrahim ibn Ismail
Born October 4, 1927
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died January 24, 1998(1998-01-24) (aged 70)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Piano
Years active 1940s–1990s
Associated acts Milt Jackson, Stan Getz, Charlie Parker, Oscar Pettiford, Kai Winding, Miles Davis

Walter Bishop Jr. (October 4, 1927 – January 24, 1998) was an American bop and hard bop jazz pianist.

Early life[edit]

Bishop was born in New York City on October 4, 1927.[1] He had at least two sisters, Marian and Beverly.[2] His father was composer Walter Bishop, Sr.[2] In his teens, Bishop Jr.'s friends included future jazz musicians Kenny Drew, Sonny Rollins, and Art Taylor.[2] He was brought up in Harlem.[2] He left high school to play in dance bands in the area.[2] In 1945–47 he was in the Army Air Corps.[2] During his military service in 1947 Bishop was based near St Louis and met touring bebop musicians.[1]

Later life and career[edit]

Later in 1947, he returned to New York.[2] That year (or 1949[2]) he was part of drummer Art Blakey's band for 14 weeks and recorded with them.[1] Bishop developed his bebop playing in part by playing in jam sessions at Minton's Playhouse.[2]

He recorded with Milt Jackson and Stan Getz in 1949, then played with Charlie Parker (1951–54), Oscar Pettiford, Kai Winding, and Miles Davis (1951–53).[1] At this time he was also a drug addict, which led to imprisonment and the withdrawal of his New York City Cabaret Card.[1] In 1956, he recorded with Hank Mobley.[1] "At some point he became a Muslim and took the name Ibrahim ibn Ismail, but he did not use this publicly."[1] In the early 1960s he also led his own trio with Jimmy Garrison and G. T. Hogan.

After studying at The Juilliard School with Hall Overton in the late 1960s,[2] Bishop taught music theory at colleges in Los Angeles in the 1970s. In the 1980s he taught at the University of Hartford.[2] By this time, he made frequent appearances at clubs and festivals in New York.[2] He also wrote a book, A Study in Fourths, about jazz improvisation based on cycles of fourths and fifths. His debut recording as a leader was in the 1960s.[2] He continued performing into the 1990s.

Death[edit]

Bishop died of a heart attack at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Manhattan on January 24, 1998.[2] He was survived by his wife, Keiko, his mother, and two sisters.[2]

Playing style[edit]

Bishop was influenced at an early stage by Bud Powell.[2] Later, Bishop was "known for holding back on the beat, a device that added tension to the music."[2]

Discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Gene Ammons

With Art Blakey

With Rocky Boyd

With Miles Davis

With Kenny Dorham

With Curtis Fuller

With John Handy

  • Jazz (Roulette, 1962)

With Milt Jackson

With Ken McIntyre

With Jackie McLean

With Blue Mitchell

With Hank Mobley

With Oscar Pettiford

With Dizzy Reece

With Charlie Rouse

With Sonny Stitt

With Harold Vick

With Zoot Sims

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Greene, Philip; Kernfeld, Barry "Bishop, Walter Jr.". The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd edition). Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved February 18, 2016. Subscription required.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Ratliff, Ben (January 29, 1998) "Walter Bishop Jr., 70, Jazz Pianist Who Rode Be-Bop's First Wave". The New York Times. p. B9.
  3. ^ Allmusic
  4. ^ Allmusic

External links[edit]