Reader Spotlight: Pat Ormiston

Pat OrmistonMeet Pat Ormiston, a bassist from Colchester, Vermont who says his playing is “no flash, no wicked fancy playing, just straight groove.”


I grew up in Rochester NY as the third of four children. Music is a strong influence in my family. My mother saw to it that her children all played an instrument, so I started very young with piano lessons and moved on to playing the clarinet in elementary school. My older sister played saxophone in the high school bands, and when it came time for me to head to high school, she talked me into filling the void left when the school’s bassist graduated.

I played bass in every band the school offered and ended up moving to Vermont to study music at St. Michaels College. It was at SMC that I met most of my current bandmates and made the most important musical relationships in my life.


Colchester, VT

Day gig:

I spend my days working in the local hospital’s outpatient pharmacies.

Years experience:

I’ve been playing for the better part of 16 years.

Bands & Gigs:

My main band is Japhy Ryder, a mostly instrumental group ranging in genre from heavy rock/funk to dub and afrobeat. I also play bass with the St. Michaels College Liturgical Choir and with a few local singer/songwriters.


  • Fender Jaguar Bass
  • Lakland Decade
  • Peavey Cirrus 5 string
  • MarkBass LMII
  • Mesa Boogie M6 Carbine
  • Bag End s15-d & s15x-d cabs

Why I play the bass:

The high school I attended had an opening for a bassist, and my sister talked the band director into giving me a shot at it. So in hindsight, the decision was made for me.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I wouldn’t say I have any bass superpowers. I have been told that my internal clock is infallible and that my ability to stick to an ostinato may be my best feature. But really, the thing I love most about playing bass is finding the pocket and sitting in it. No flash, no wicked fancy playing, just straight groove.

My influences

My main influence through college was Stacy Starkweather. He was (is) the best bassist I have ever had the privilege of studying with. Other influences on my playing would be Bill Laswell, Cesar Anot, Nick Movshon, Christian McBride, Tony Scherr and James Jamerson. I wish I could name all of the bassists that cycled through Fela Kuti’s bands, as they would also land on this list.

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