• Blu-Note Photography, Robert Young
  • Andrew Bishop

For his latest trio album De Profundis (Envoi) Ann Arbor reedist Andrew Bishop drew inspiration from the music of Renaissance composer Josquin des Prez. I’m hardly conversant in that source material, so it’s not surprising the connections are oblique to my ears, but that doesn’t change the fact that the performances are stirring, regardless of how much or little you know about des Prez. The album’s opener, “Introit—De Profundis I” begins with an extended solo clarinet passage that shares the magisterial air of the vocal motet upon which it’s named, but Bishop is soon joined by his longtime rhythm section of bassist Tim Flood and drummer Gerald Cleaver—they transform the theme into a warm jazz ballad, although one marked by a chamberlike intimacy.

There’s no doubt, however, that a piece like the buoyant and breezy “Falling Up,” which you can listen to below, is jazz through and through, with Bishop’s fine-grained tenor delivering fleet curlicues and motific elaboration on an elegant tuneful line. The album intersperses the six meditative, austere movements of the title suite with a variety of the leader’s attractive original compositions, breaking things up nicely. Bishop was obviously not interested in a literal adaptation of des Prez here—whatever way he interpreted those centuries-old ideas resulted in something special here. The trio makes a rare local appearance tonight at Constellation, with the always busy Cleaver in tow (he’ll be back at the venue with his own idiosyncratic group Black Host on April 24).

Today’s playlist:

Don Bikoff, Celestial Explosion (Tompkins Square)
Berndt Egerbladh and His Quartet, When I Started to Play! (Jazzhus Disk, Japan)
Ensemble Alternance, Raphaël Cendo: Rokh (Stradivarius)
Roky Erickson, Gremlins Have Pictures (Light in the Attic)
Jabula, Thunder and Happiness: the Complete Albums (Retro/RPM)