John Fremgen

John Fremgen plays double bass during a performance

Associate Professor of Jazz Studies, Double Bass Director, Alternative Improvisation Music Ensemble Division Head, Jazz Studies

Bassist John Fremgen grew up in the Chicago area where he studied classical bass with Harold Siegel.  He received a BM in Commercial Music from Millikin University and a MM in Jazz Studies from The University of Southern California where he studied with Brian Bromberg and Shelly Berg.  He has played bass for a wide variety of artists across the United States and internationally, including jazz artists Butch Miles, Kat Edmonson, Shelly Berg, Kirk Covington and Jamie Findlay, as well as pop/rock artists PJ Olsson, Libby Kirkpatrick, Eric Johnson and five-time Grammy Award winner, Christopher Cross.  He has performed in Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico and Canada. As an educator, he has taught, given masterclasses, conducted, and performed at The Rimsky Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, The Conservatorio di Musica di Perugia in Umbria, Italy, The Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Aarhus, Denmark, The Guatemalan American Institute in Guatemala, The North Sea Jazz Festival, The Guatemala Jazz Festival and The Montreux Jazz Festival.

His bass playing can be heard on dozens of jingles, TV shows and movies, including Dawson’s Creek, Party of Five, Shorts, Down to You and The Late Show with David Letterman. He has also recorded as a sideman for numerous artists, including PJ Olsson, Eric Johnson, Christopher Cross, Abra Moore, Ruthie Foster, Rick Trevino among many others. He has three albums on Viewpoint Records: Meanwhile with Peter Erskine and Mitch Watkins, Pieces of String with Peter Erskine and Shelly Berg and If Not Now with various artists. 

Beginning Jazz Improvisation

Intermediate Jazz Improvisation

Jazz Theory I

Jazz Theory II

Independent Study/Jazz Bass

Independent Study/Jazz Improvisation

Beginning Jazz Piano Techniques

As a leader 

with Peter Erskine and Mitch Watkins • Viewpoint Records

Pieces Of String
with Peter Erskine and Shelly Berg • Viewpoint Records

If Not Now
Viewpoint Records

As a sideman 

Words For Living 
PJ Olsson • Sony 

Beautifully Insane 
PJ Olsson • Sony 

PJ Olsson 
PJ Olsson • Red Ink

PJ Olsson • HitIt!

Math And Science 
Math and Science • Brick Red 

The Songs of Dawson’s Creek 
various artists • Sony 

In My Life 
George Martin • MCA 

Peak Moments 
Jeff Hellmer/Rick Margitza • Viewpoint 

Jazz, Bars and Battlescars 
Tony Campise • Viewpoint 

Sara Hickman 

Goodnight Venus 
Libby Kirkpatrick • Heart Music

Tucker Livingston 
Tucker Livingston • AMP

"Fremgen shows himself an adroit craftsman on the strings, slapping and popping away on electric or plucking resonant tones on acoustic."
– Cadence Magazine

"John Fremgen is the best bass player on the scene today-at home in virtually any setting or lineup." 
– The Austin Chronicle

"Fremgen is consistently on his toes, strong and energetic, and the group swings hard and happy." 
– All Music Guide

"[Fremgen’s] bowed, upright bass passages stir the soul." 
– Southland Blues Magazine

"This band was a very pleasant surprise…. “A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square” gives scope for a fine solo from Fremgen." 
– HiFi+ Magazine

Contact Information


Campus location
MRH 6.254


Teaching Areas

Jazz Studies
Jazz Bass


Master of Music
University of Southern California

Bachelor of Music
Millikin University