Don Grusin was born and raised in Colorado, a setting that proved inspirational and nurturing in his musical development. He worked his way through the University of Colorado at Boulder, playing in jazz clubs, while studying sociology. Luckily, he attended the Conference on World Affairs, which 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 as a Fulbright professor in Mexico and subsequently in the United States. When Quincy Jones encouraged him to join his band for a Japan-United States tour in the mid 1970s, Grusin took a leave from teaching economics. Los Angeles became home, and music became the rule.
Grusin was the creative sparkplug for the acclaimed fusion ensemble Friendship, and has recorded and produced scores of albums, including the Grammy-winning Musican for Ernie Watts. Grusin received a Grammy nomination for his live contemporary jazz DVD and CD The Hang, and another Grammy this past year for his contribution to Paul Winter's CD Crestone.
His current release, Piano in Venice, was recorded in Venice, California, on his much-loved grand piano, joined with guitar licks, voices, dancers, people clapping, singing, birds, animals, and traditional percussion instruments such as the Soleri Bell, created by Conference friend Paolo Soleri.
Last year Grusin played and recorded all over the world, including at the San Miguel de Allende Jazz Festival with Oscar Castro. He also created and taught a multidisciplinary course, World Music Video as Catalyst for Social Change, at the ATLAS Institute at CU. Grusin is the recipient of CU's Alumni Association's 2006 George Norlin Award for distinguished lifetime achievement.