Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Walter Bishop Jr.- "Cubicle" (1978, Muse)

Several great tracks on this 1978 Muse album by keyboardist Walter Bishop Jr. , who's mostly on rhodes here and still has some of his Black Jazz flavors intact. "Cubicle" comes the year after his Muse album 'Soul Village' and features similar instrumentation and some similar textures. It's also a nice clean piece of vinyl.

There's still some rawness here - the album doesn't have 1978 slick arrangement/production values stamped all over it, even though the vast majority of these musicians seemed to be getting most of their work on CTI albums at the time. While then-ubiquitous pop/jazz session trumpeter Randy Brecker is here, his precision is nicely balanced with the more lyrical, loose work of trombonist Curtis Fuller, and saxophonists Rene McClean and Pepper Adams.

Over the course of his solo career, Bishop tended to re-record different versions of songs by himself and others from one album to the next. "Cubicle" is no exception, with half of the tracks having appeared on previous albums in occasionally radically different forms.

The opener "Valley Land" has rarely left my turntable since I acquired the record. Previously recorded as a piano trio instrumental on Bishop's 1974 "Valley Land" album, here it's beefed up into an energetic vocal track featuring a young Carmen Lundy in one of her first recordings.

It sounds like a Strata-East track from earlier in the decade, perhaps from Billy Parker's Fourth World, or even like a Doug Carn vocal track, with Ray Mantilla's latin percussion working upfront. Check it out on the preview. (Also, check out a few different versions of Carmen Lundy singing the classic track "Time Is Love" over at Private Press).

'Summertime' excerpt 

The album features Bishop's fourth recording of the standard "Summertime". He'd given blues-infused jazz readings of the track on 1963's "Walter Bishop Trio" and the 1964 recording on "Bish-Bash", then funked it up on his 1973 Black Jazz album "Keeper of my Soul", switching from piano to a harsh hammond organ that probably demanded a heavier backline than he had there.

The "Cubicle" version of "Summertime" is his funkiest yet - Bishop switches to rhodes, and this time is ably supported by the ubiquitous Billy Hart on drums, great percussion from Ray Mantilla - who put out an excellent solo album the year before - and a nice dirty baritone solo from Pepper Adams.
"Those Who Chant" receives a similar treatment to the version on 1973's 'Keeper Of My Soul', although the unison doubling of Joe Caro's guitar with Bishop's rhodes gives the melody a slight fusion edge (but thankfully not too much!). There's some nice rhodes solo work in the track as well - Bishop had just played acoustic in the earlier version. Caro's guitar work is generally in a restrained soul-jazz style, perhaps more suited to Bishop's work than Steve Khan's was on "Soul Village".

"Now, Now That You've Left Me" is a bossa-tinged piece that recalls some of the tracks on "Soul Village", or perhaps some of Kenny Barron's work from the same period. It's written by the album's producer Mitch Farber, who later released an album called "Starclimber" (1982) on Muse.
Bishop gives the rhodes treament to "My Little Suede Shoes" a favourite standard from his Charlie Parker days, and finally returns to his bop roots with an acoustic rendition of the title track "Cubicle", pre-cursing his return to a concentration on acoustic piano work that would follow this album.



01. 'Valley Land' - 6:34 -
(W. Bishop Jr.)
02. 'My Little Suede Shoes' - 4:50 - (C.Parker)
03. 'Those Who Chant' - 7:08 - (W. Bishop Jr.)
04. 'Summertime' - 8:06 - (G. Gershwin - D. Heyward)
05. 'Now, Now That You've Left Me' - 6:35 - (M. Farber)
06. 'Cubicle' - 4:12 - (W. Bishop Jr.)


Bass [Fender] - Bob Cranshaw , Mark Egan (tracks 1,4)
Drums - Billy Hart
Guitar - Joe Caro
Keyboards - Walter Bishop, Jr.
Percussion - Ray Mantilla
Saxophone (Alto, Soprano, Tenor) - Rene McLean
Saxophone (Baritone) - Pepper Adams
Trombone - Curtis Fuller
Trumpet, Flugelhorn - Randy Brecker
Vocals - Carmen Lundy (track 1)


 Producer, Arranged By - Mitch Farber
Engineer - Elvin Campbell
Art Direction, Photography - Hal Wilson


1961 'Speak Low'
at jazzdisposition or Pharoah's Dance
1961 'Milestones'
('Speak Low' with three alternate takes added)
1963 'The Walter Bishop Trio' (FLAC)
at Sic Vos Non Vobis
1964-68 'Bish Bash' (MP3)
at Pharoah's Dance
1964-68 'Bish Bash' (FLAC)
at Call It Anything
1971 'Coral Keys' (FLAC)
at Call It Anything
1973 'Keeper Of My Soul'
1974 'Valley Land'
at Ile Oxumare1975 'Soliloquy' at My Jazz World
1976 'Old Folks' at Casqueria Fina Y Menudillos de Ocasion
1977 'Hot House' at Arkadin's Ark
1977 'Soul Village' 1978 'Cubicle' in comments here
1978 'The Trio'
(with Billy Hart, George Mraz)
1988 'Just in Time'
1989 'Ode to Bird'
1990 'What's New'
1991 'Midnight Blue'
1998 'Speak Low Again'


Vinyl rip by

Apart from the discography, other album links in this post go to : My Jazz World, Ile Oxumare, Orgy In Rhythm, Sic Vos Non Vobis, Pharoah's Dance, Call It Anything, Private Press and Jazz Disposition.

Please thank and support these bloggers if you download their albums.

Oh. and this is Walter reading his poem about Max Roach :
"Max The Invisible Roach" :


katonah said...

thanks for this one simon. looking forward to the whole thing, thats a tough line up, ray mantilla's a top percussionist. valley land should be a monster.

bacoso said...

ditto katonah-very nice post simon and unavailable elsewhere. thanks a lot

corvimax said...

thank you simon, a still pure bishop
also very helpfull your blogwatch

Franco said...

Thanks for this Simon...and all your hard work on extra info...
Great Stuff !

Anonymous said...

Thank You Simon nice post!

Robert said...

thanks Simon for this great discovery!!

johnv said...

Very nice album, Simon. As always, your work is very much appreciated.

ish said...

Wow Simon this is great. You're right about the version of Valley Land. Awesome track.

Loving all the electric piano. Really nice album. Thanks so much.

E-mile said...

Simon, this is GREAT!!! Yet another version -unknown to me- of Summertime, one to die for, too!!
Will include this ofcourse when the (summer)time is there again :-)
I've conjured up loads of new version from all over, but seems indecent to post yet, since the weather here is called "winter" :-D
Thanks a zillion, mate (rest of the album is also great ofcourse!)
peace, E-mile

cheeba said...

Wicked! Really liked Bishop thanks to his sides with Blakey and Blue but discovering his solo stuff from the 70s thru blogs has been awesome. REALLY appreciate hearing this one, Simon!

Jur said...

This is a hell of an album. Love Bishop's take on Summertime. "Now Thjt You Have Left Me" is also a wonderful cover.

Thanks Simon!

Simon666 said...

Thanks for comments guys.
Just posted a really nice track by Bennie Maupin called "Walter Bishop Jr.", check it here

Solomon said...

Thank you.

Hanimex 3000 said...

fantastic. You made my day

flageolette said...

Thank you,Simon

This is the REAL music you'd never,no-time will find at Walmart's...:)

Highly appreciated over here,

thefunkygoat said...

Thanks Simon, great work (as always!) and much appreciated...

the goat


Art Simon said...

Killer Album! This is why I love your blog Simon, just great! Thanks!

valdez said...

Thanks Simon. Got it a few days ago and listenin to it now ! Killer tracks !

Simon666 said...

Thanks for the comments guys. I've added a link within the text to percussionist Ray Mantilla's great solo album, released the year before this, and of course it's at Orgy In Rhythm :


Andy said...

Thanks Simon,super post.I never realised you were in Aussie.Whereabouts? They should hang the firestarters!

Simon666 said...

hey andy, glad you enjoyed it. I'm in Sydney.

Andy said...

Alas I am the other side of the ditch in NZ.I live in a place called Ngongotaha which is very near the easier to pronounce Rotorua.
All Walter Bishop stuff is good,I was lucky to get a re-issue pressing of Soul Village from 78 Records in Perth,they have a good mail order service.

verge said...

Thank you for this Simon. I love the Black Jazz label and most of artists that came out of their camp.

Simon666 said...

Walter Bishop's 1977 album "Hothouse" has been added to the discography, or go direct to :


Arkadin's Ark is a great new blog by a frequent contributor to many blogs around, Arkadin.

Also ... a few other albums in the Bishop discography had to be de-linked for a while, but are now active again, if you know what I mean ...

Simon666 said...

Link added for 'Milestones' (1961), FLAC version. Same album as "Speak Low" but witb some alternate takes added.

Simon666 said...

Hi folks -

new Walter Bishop discography addition :

"Old Folks" (1976, East Win)


catacaldos said...


Josiah said...

thnx man this site awesome im learning so much from it

Simon666 said...

Hi catacaldos and josiah -
Thanks for your comments here and at other posts, glad you guys are enjoying it ;)

Simon666 said...

Hi folks,

Addition to Walter Bishop Jr. discography :

1975 'Soliloquy' at My Jazz World


BigD said...

Thank You so much for the Walter Bishop Jr. discography. I've noticed that you don't have any links for the later albums. I can contribute if you'd like some of those as well. He's not on Rhodes on the later ones but they are still great records.

Simon666 said...

Hi BigD -
Anything you'd like to contribute would be most welcome :)
I looked for all of the albums when I did the discog, and the later ones were nowhere to be found on the blogosphere.
Unfortunately several of the links for the earlier ones are dead now - blogs closed, blogs gone private ... I used to try and update all of the links in my blog, but have realised how ephemeral it all is :)

Musaklee said...

Well... this is quite a "post"! Many thanks for this one... and all this information. First, I was researching about his collaboration with Jimmy Garrison on "Speak Low" (or "Milestone"). I finally ended up on your magnificent blog.

It's very kind of you! I especially like your efforts to contextualize all the informations... It makes sense. I will buy the album now whenever I see it. This why blogging about those albums (even if not OOP) is still essential. It keeps this music (and the musicians!) alive...

Cheers from Montreal.

Simon666 said...

You're welcome Musaklee, thanks for the comment.

iDP said...

Thanks S. Great Album !!!

Br'er Soul said...

Nice....very nice. EXCELLENT site, my man.

Thomas said...

thanks for your great job Mr Simon

Ian Van Groove said...

Cheers Simon. 'Cubicle' is new to me. Actually, I was after 'Soul Village' which I assumed I had & only just realised I haven't. (Just got the title track on a sampler!) Now that My Jazz World has bitten the dust, any leads...?

Simon666 said...


chronwell said...

Never heard Bishop as a leader and on the Fender Rhodes and from '78? Thanx 4 this great music!

OldHippieRick said...

Simon thanks again for a rare one, I was on the hunt for Curtis Fullers side work to find this gem and with Pepper Adams to boot gee life is swell... ☮ldhippierick ♪ ♫ ♪

bongolong said...




Chris said...

Walter Bishop Jr. - Muse Albums {FLAC} Links:-

Walter Bishop Jr. - Valley Land (1974) Side A

Walter Bishop Jr. - Valley Land (1974) Side B


Walter Bishop, Jr. - Soul Village (1977) Side A

Walter Bishop, Jr. - Soul Village (1977) Side B


Walter Bishop Jr. - Cubicle (1978) Side A

Walter Bishop Jr. - Cubicle (1978) Side B

Simon666 said...

Thanks for the new links Chris, I'll add them ... is this a different rip of "Cubicle", or a copy of mine ?

Chris said...

Hi Simon, I hope the links will be of use to other readers. In answer to your question. I have to admit "Cubicle" was not my rip, the others are. A friend gave to me some wav files which I treated and converted to flac. So the source may well be yours. Regardless of any indiscretion, thanks for all your great blog efforts over the years. In the end we both have a love of some wonderful music and are willing to share with others. All the best for a good start to the new year, kriztof :)

Simon666 said...

Thanks Kriztof, all the best to you too :)

zeta said...

Hi, I'm becoming fool looking for the passwords!
Is one pass for each post or one for all? Thanks.

Simon666 said...

Hi Zeta -
there are no passwords on any of my uploads.

Anonymous said...

Keeping up with the riddem here, one post / year for a killer album.
Hard to believe it's from '78; must be the only one from that year in my collection, lol.

Muchas gracias & greetz from a little volcanic island somewhere out there :)