Don Grusin was born and raised in Colorado. He attended Howard Higmanís Conference on World Affairs as an undergraduate, and it made a pretty big impression. To this day the Conference is a tiller in his point of view.
After receiving a masterís degree in economics from CU, he taught on a Fulbright at the Universidad Autonoma in Guadalajara, Mexico. In the early 1970s, he continued to teach at Foothill College in the San Francisco Bay area, turning his attention more and more toward music. He finally joined Pete Escovedo and his daughter, Sheila E., in the renowned band Azteca.
It was Quincy Jones who encouraged Grusin to join his band for a tour in the mid 1970s. He moved to Los Angeles and began working full-time in music. Grusin toured in Japan, Europe, and Brasil, and played on records for Quincy Jones, Billy Eckstein, Peggy Lee, Tom Scott, Lee Ritenour, Sergio Mendez, Sadao Watanabe, Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil, Dori Caymmi, Patti Austin, and his brother Dave.
Grusin was the creative sparkplug for the acclaimed fusion ensemble Friendship. He has recorded 18 solo albums on various labels and produced many more, including the Grammy-winning Musican for Ernie Watts. Grusin received a Grammy nomination for the DVD and CD The Hang. His latest release is Geography.
Grusin is the recipient of CU's Alumni Association's 2006 George Norlin Award for distinguished lifetime achievement.