Culture Watch: Kermit Driscoll's 'Reveille' CD
Fifty-four years old and recently recovered from a near-fatal bout with Lyme disease, bassist Kermit Driscoll sounds as if he's making up for lost time in his first album as a bandleader. Calling on longtime friends Bill Frisell and session-drummer-to-the-stars Vinnie Colaiuta to join Kris Davis, Driscoll's bandmate in the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, on piano, Driscoll effortlessly twists through so many styles its as if he was simply eager to share everything his band could do.
With Frisell's twang-ready tone onboard, the early Americana standard "Chicken Reel" could be considered overly familiar territory for the guitarist, but Driscoll teams with the ever-crafty Colaiuta to smirkingly toy with the song's rhythm until it briefly flirts with the drive of the "Peter Gunn" theme. Opening with an off-kilter melody, the Driscoll original "Hekete" evolves along Davis' chattering piano into a loping sort of swing, and Frisell's guitar slashes through "Great Expectations," a darkly funky piece from Miles Davis' electric period that swerves along a growling bass line from Driscoll. Full of sympathetic interplay that grows richer with every listen, the album doesn't stay in one place for long, but each place it visits offers eye-opening rewards.
-- Chris Barton