A subtle and supportive drummer who was one of the finest of the swing era, Wallace Bishop (often known as "Bish") was greatly underrated by every one but his fellow musicians. He began playing drums when he was a teenager and had an opportunity to study with Jimmy Bertrand. He started playing professionally in 1926 with Art Simms' Orchestra in Milwaukee. Bishop toured with Jelly Roll Morton and gigged with Bernie Young, Hughie Swift, Richard M. Jones and Thomas Dorsey. He was with Erskine Tate in Chicago during 1928-30 and then was an important part of the Earl Hines Orchestra (1931-37) where he gained his reputation. Other associations included Jimmie Noone (1941), Coleman Hawkins (1943), Don Redman, Foots Thomas, Phil Moore, John Kirby (1946), Sammy Price, Sy Oliver and Billy Kyle. During a visit to Europe with Buck Clayton in 1949, Bishop decided to permanently become an expatriate and he only visited the U.S. briefly three times during his later years. Overseas, Bishop was quite busy as a mainstream drummer, performing with Bill Coleman, Don Byas, Ben Webster, Kid Ory (during a 1956 tour), Earl Hines, Milt Buckner, Buddy Tate, T-Bone Walker and a variety of top European players. Wallace Bishop, who only recorded two trio numbers as a leader (for the French Chant du Monde label in 1950), appeared on record quite frequently as a sideman, particularly for the Black & Blue label in the late 1960's and 70's.
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