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Judge Releases Musician Accused Of Beating Wife In 5-Hour Cliffside Park SWAT Standoff

Kermit Driscoll
Kermit Driscoll Photo Credit: MUGSHOT: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF

UPDATE: A Cliffside Park jazz player involved in a 5-hour SWAT standoff spent less than a day at the Bergen County Jail before a judge ordered him released pending a hearing.

Kermit Driscoll, 62, was first taken to New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus for a psychiatric evaluation before he was transferred to the Bergen County Jail following Monday night's incident.

He was to be held in the county lockup pending trial on charges that include aggravated assault, violating a restraining order, false imprisonment, hindering his arrest, obstruction and harassment. But a judge released Driscoll hours later, under New Jersey's 2017 bail reform act.

Police said they went to the Driscoll home at Aurora and Glen avenues on Monday after his wife had been beaten and required medical treatment.

"She was punched in the face, head and neck repeatedly until she was covered in blood," a close relative told Daily Voice.

An hours-long standoff followed involving a Bergen County Regional SWAT team and a negotiator as police blocked off area streets. Eventually, the tactical squad tossed gas canisters into the house and removed Driscoll.

"He is now roaming the streets and free to commit any crimes he pleases," the relative said.

"We are living in a nightmare," he added. "A nightmare where the villain is out there somewhere, lurking. A nightmare dominated by fear and pain and sadness. No person should endure this feeling. Ever."

Driscoll, a bassist best known for a long association with guitarist Bill Frisell, also was a sideman with the legendary Chet Baker, drummers Buddy Rich and Vinnie Colaiuta, saxophonist John Zorn and former New York Dolls singer David Johansen (in his pre-Buster Poindexter days).

One of his teachers at the University of Miami was Jaco Pastorius, a renowned jazz bassist who was a member of the band Weather Report.

Later, at the Berklee College of Music, Driscoll teamed up with Frisell.

The Nebraska native worked as a sideman for decades before being diagnosed with advanced Lyme disease in 2005.

Friends organized benefit concerts, gathered donations and convinced him to record his first album as a band leader, “Reveille,” in 2010.

Married nearly 40 years, the father of two has performed in various genres, including Broadway, classical, jazz, folk and rock. He’s recorded music for film and television and has taught at SUNY Purchase College and Sarah Lawrence College.

PHOTO: Courtesy

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