You know Kermit Driscoll -- he's the one laying it down on all your favorite Bill Frisell records, and many more outstanding sessions besides, including two albums with New and Used, the group he co-led with Dave Douglas. Kermit has played on (and continues to play on) a staggering number of records that were vitally important to my development as a musician, and though I've never met him in person, I owe him a lot.
Back in the mid-1990's, Kermit was out on a hike in the New Jersey hinterlands when he got bitten by a deer tick. Thereafter, he started to develop some nasty chronic symptoms -- aching joints, throbbing headaches, fever -- that eventually began to really slow him down. But it wasn't until August 2005 that Driscoll's doctors finally connected the right dots and realized he'd been infected with Lyme Disease -- but by this time, the disease had become very advanced, very debilitating, and very expensive to treat.
The good news is that the treatment appears to be working -- while he's still very much up and down, Kermit has recently been able to return to (limited) performing. I saw him with the John Hollenbeck Big Band at IAJE and he sounded outstanding. But thanks to the absurdities of the US health care system, he's now faced with massive medical bills far beyond his ability to pay, or his insurance company's willingness to cover. (And this is despite having "good" health insurance via the Musician's Union.)
This Monday, January 29, at Tonic, there will be a benefit concert featuring groups led by Bill Frisell, John Zorn, John Patitucci, and John Hollenbeck -- 7:30 PM hit. Tickets are $23 in advance or $25 at the door, with all proceeds going to help Driscoll in his time of need. Please come out and lend your support.
For those unable to make it or not in NY -- consider mailing in a tax-decutable donation to:
Kermit Driscoll Emergency Relief Fund
ATTN: Bill Dennison
Musicians Union Local 802
322 West 48th Street
New York, N.Y. 10036