Keyboardist Walter Bishop, Jr. recorded the Black Jazz label's second album, Coral Keys, a masterpiece of blue-note atmospherics steeped in '70s soul-jazz. But just two years later, Bishop Jr. brought a whole new sound and a whole new band into the studio for "Keeper of My Soul" (1973). Unlike the album title, the band's name was not The 4th Cycle; instead, as the liner notes state, the name reflected "Bishop's compositional and improvisational techniques based on the Cycle of 4ths and his various personal musical cycles as performer, student and teacher."
The album was also imbued with a spirituality that he owed in part to his studies with the yogi Parmahansa Yogananda; no wonder, then, that Keeper of My Soul was a more ambitious, electric, and "open" album than its predecessor. With the esteemed assistance of flutist/saxophonist Ronnie Laws, bassist Gerald Brown and vibraphonist Woody Murray, Bishop explores Keith Jarrett-like free-form passages ("Those Who Chant"), Latin stylings ("Kenny Dorham's Blue Bossa") and offers one of the most unusual and funky interpretations of "Summertime" you'll ever hear. All in remastered sound and with annotations by Pat Thomas. The very first vinyl reissue of a long lost classic!
Article properties: Walter Bishop Jr.: Keeper Of My Soul (LP)