Kermit Driscoll

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Kermit Driscoll (born March 4, 1956) is an American jazz bassist. He is known for his long association with guitarist Bill Frisell.


Driscoll was born in Kearney, Nebraska. He began playing piano at age five. Soon after, he added saxophone, and at age thirteen he picked up the bass guitar. Almost immediately he was playing gigs around the midwest. When an offer to travel with a rock band came up, he dropped out of high school at age sixteen to go on tour.

He resumed high school at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, then attended the University of Miami, where one of his teachers was Jaco Pastorius. At Berklee College of Music in 1975 he became friends with guitarist Bill Frisell, and they often performed locally in Boston. Driscoll cites Pastorius and Frisell as two of the biggest influences on his life. Around 1976, he and his roommate, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, and Frisell found work in a band called the Boston Connection. According to Frisell, band members dressed in orange polyester suits and played disco.[1]

In May 1978, Driscoll traveled to Belgium to play with Stephan Houben who was working with Frisell. With this group he made his first recording, Mauve Traffic, with Frisell, Houben, Greg Badolato, Vinton Johnson, and Michel Herr. The album included a composition by Driscoll entitled "Doggone it". In January, 1980, he moved to New York City, and during the next year toured with Buddy Rich. He co-led the group New and Used with trumpeter Dave Douglas and saxophonist Andy Laster. Starting in 1987, he was a member of Bill Frisell's quartet.

In 2005, he was diagnosed with advanced Lyme disease. Friends performed benefit concerts. Colauita helped gather donations and encouraged Driscoll to record. Reveille, his first album as a leader, was recorded with Colaiuta, Frisell, and pianist Kris Davis and released in 2010.[1][2]

Driscoll has worked in many genres and music settings: Broadway, classical, jazz, folk, rock, film, and television.[1] He has taught at SUNY Purchase College and Sarah Lawrence College.

On January, 28th, 2019 Driscoll was charged with aggravated assault, violating a restraining order, false imprisonment, hindering his arrest, obstruction and harassment. This was after being removed from a Cliffside Park, NJ home by the Bergen County Regional SWAT Team.[3]


As leader[edit]

  • 2010 Reveille (19/8 Records)
  • 2012 Window & Door (Supraphon)

With New and Used

As sideman[edit]

With Bill Frisell

With John Hollenbeck

  • 2005 A Blessing
  • 2009 Eternal Interlude (Sunnyside)

With Joel Harrison

  • 2013 Infinite Possibility
  • 2015 Spirit House

With Gerry Hemingway

  • 2002 Songs
  • 2005 Double Blues Crossing (Between the Lines)

With David Johansen

With Mick Rossi

  • 1997 Inside the Sphere
  • 1999 They Have a Word for Everything

With John Zorn

  • 1997 FilmWorks III: 1990–1995
  • 1997 FilmWorks VII: Cynical Hysterie Hour

With others

  • 1969 Streetnoise, Brian Auger/Julie Driscoll
  • 1989 Those Who Know History Are Doomed to Repeat It, Henry Kaiser
  • 1991 Miracle Mile, Wayne Horvitz
  • 1991 Overlays, Ned Rothenberg
  • 1998 Jazz Standards on Mars, Robert Dick
  • 2000 Dancing Spirits, Karl Latham
  • 2000 Hangdog Heaven, Jim Lord
  • 2002 Almost Blue, Chet Baker
  • 2002 Lalo, Lalo
  • 2003 Do You Speak Vibe, Bill Molenhof
  • 2004 Light Is Calling, Michael Gordon
  • 2004 Save Big, Russ Johnson
  • 2005 New York School, Tom Christensen
  • 2005 Nu Love, Johannes Mossinger
  • 2005 Oceana, Ben Monder (Sunnyside)
  • 2006 Beginning to See the Light, Jane Stuart
  • 2006 Velvet Gentlemen, Dan Willis
  • 2006 Walkin' with the Wazmo, Jerry Vivino
  • 2006 You Decide, Rave Tesar
  • 2007 Resonance, Karl Latham
  • 2007 The Path to Peace, Andrew Sterman
  • 2008 A Day in the Life of a Mother and Wife, Cat Guthrie
  • 2008 A Quiet Thing, Lisa Sokolov
  • 2008 The Exile of St. Christopher, Max Gabriel
  • 2009 The Funky Way of Emil Viklicky, Emil Viklicky
  • 2010 The Satie Project, Dan Willis[4]


  1. ^ a b c Adler, David R. (1 April 2011). "Kermit Driscoll: A Resolution Realized". JazzTimes. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  2. ^ Jisi, Chris (1 May 2011). "Kermit Driscoll's Wake-Up Call". Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Man Jailed In Five-Hour Cliffside Park SWAT Standoff Is Accomplished Jazz Bassist". Englewood Daily Voice. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  4. ^ "Kermit Driscoll | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 October 2017.

External links[edit]