Drummer Todd Bishop's last two releases: Little Played Little Bird
(Origin, 2012) and Pop Art 4: 69 Annee Erotique
(Origin, 2009) were exceptional expositions of concept, production and musicianship. Using his band from Little Bird Bishop switches to a collection of original compositions as his vehicle on Travelogue
Bishop's band has properly gelled, benefiting from having played together consistently for the last several years. Having purloined Jasnam Daya Singh (Weber Iago) from Hristo Vitchev's band, Bishop has effectively maxed out the color palette of his ensemble. Alternating between the piano and Fender Rhodes, Singh establishes an harmonic hierarchy that frame each composition in a regional splendor. "Norwegian" provides Richard Cole a safe place to play his bass clarinet, giving the piece a probing and warm feeling. Singh waxes expressionistic, untethered by tempo or time signature.
Bishop is a selfless leader, allowing his band as a unit to do the talking, but make no mistake, he is there. He lays out a tropical beat on "Somnambulist" mostly on toms. Cole again plays the bass clarinet in an Eastern fashion charming Singh into flights of bright notes and passing chords. Travelogue
is that sonic vacation that is never boring nor does it perplex. It is a total listening experience.