OUR ARTISTS

JIM KERWIN
Jim joined the DGQ on very short notice in September 1985, and now has the distinction of being the member with the longest tenure. "I met David at a jam session and soon after that I got a call to fill in with his quintet," explains Jim. "It seemed his bass player had abruptly left the band with a tour beginning in five days. I had admired David's eclectic style for years, and was up for the challenge."

Jim rose to the difficult task of learning dawg bass overnight. "After that first gig," says Jim, "David told me that I could have the job for as long as I wanted." From the start, David saw in Jim both a consummate team player and a very talented musician. "Jim has always understood the function of the bass in my band, which is that of support," says David. "But he can also play inspired solos, with great tone. His ideas are always interesting and fresh."

Born in San Francisco in 1952, Jim's earliest performing experience was as a soloist in the grade school choir. He began playing guitar in high school but soon switched to electric bass when, he said, "I realized that I could play in more bands that way." Though rock was the music of the day, Jim's adventurous listening tastes led him to Stravinsky, world music, Captain Beefheart and - most importantly - to the improvisational jazz of Bill Evans and Miles Davis which made him realize that music demanded serious study.

After hearing acoustic bassists Scott La Faro, Eddie Gomez and Charlie Haden, Jim decided to study classical technique. At 21, he began five years of intensive training at San Francisco State University under the tutelage of S. Charles Siani. He graduated with a performance degree in solo double bass, and then spent several years touring Europe with an avant-garde jazz trio led by vibist Larry Blackshere. As Jim put it, "I felt I had to learn the rules before I could break them."

As a member of the DGQ and bassist on many dawg projects, Jim has been able to explore his broad musical tastes. He has performed with bluegrass greats Red Allen and Del McCoury. He played at Carnegie Hall with Stephane Grappelli and YoYo Ma. He worked with David and Jerry Garcia in a unique acoustic setting that encompassed a myriad of musical genres. He has also played on numerous recordings - including six Grammy nominees - from big band, bluegrass and jazz to Klezmer and Latin.

Jim lives in the coastal hamlet of Pacifica, California with his two children, Patrick, and Chelsea.