bassist Doug Walker. Photo by Kelley Hudson.

Photo by Kelley Hudson

Aptly named jazz bassist Doug Walker expresses his love of music throughout every performance. Originally from Sacramento, CA, he has called San Diego home since 2001. He holds a Master of Music degree in jazz studies from SDSU, having studied under renowned bassist Bob Magnusson. Walker brings his unique jazz-minded approach to many other genres of music, including bluegrass, folk, Americana, blues, soul, funk, rock, pop, and world. In recent years, Walker has performed with Joe Garrison & Night People, Chris Clarke & Plow, Jesse LaMonaca & the Dime Novels, Missy Andersen, Tim Flannery, Jeff Berkley, Euphoria Brass Band, Kamau Kenyatta, Anthony Smith, Cal Phonics, and many other Southern California notables. Walker explains, “It’s all jazz to me! Today’s jazz is not so much a genre, but a concept and a vocabulary that may be applied to any genre of interest.” Walker’s all-inclusive view is well evidenced by his many original compositions.

Doug Walker (b.1979) is one of the few left-handed acoustic bassists in the country. Born and raised in Sacramento, CA, his interest in music began as far back as he can remember. Although he first studied the alto saxophone from ages ten through twelve, he discovered the electric bass at age fourteen. Inspired by the creative funk bass lines of Les Claypool and Flea, he quickly became serious about the craft that would soon lead to their predecessors Larry Graham, Bootsy Collins, and Jaco Pastorius.

Doug’s interest in jazz and the acoustic bass flourished while studying with Dr. Joe Gilman at American River Community College, where he immersed himself in numerous academic and professional ensembles, and sought after the sound of a new line of heros– Ron Carter, Dave Holland, Scott LaFaro, and Charlie Haden. In 2001, Doug pursued higher education at San Diego State University on full scholarship, studying with bassists Bob Magnusson and Gunnar Biggs, as well as pianist/composers Rick Helzer and Richard Thompson. For years, Doug performed in orchestra, big band, and some top-level jazz combos, ultimately earning the M.M. degree in jazz performance by 2007.

Based in San Diego, Doug continues to teach, compose, perform and record within a circle of exceptional musicians. He endeavors to play an integral role in a wide range of creative projects, spanning the entire spectrum of jazz and beyond.

2010-2012 highlights include many performances with his bluegrass quartet Plow & his original music outlet Frame of Reference, an 2010 SDMA nomination for Best Blues Album of the Year with Zapf Dingbats, and a debut jazz-theatre performance of The Lady & the Queen, backing musical director Anthony Smith. The Lady & The Queen project also resulted in the 2011-released CD of the same title, featuring 12 of Anthony’s original compositions from the show. Doug can also be heard on several studio albums by such artists as Berkley Hart, Chris Clarke, Christy Bruneau, Tim Flannery, The Lovebirds, Josh Damigo, Rosebud & Scott Ireland, Podunk Nowhere, Carl Johnson, and Warm Earth.

Spilling into 2013, Doug has enjoyed a steady weekly gig with Chris Lea Trio, a monthly bluegrass brunch with Plow, a steady bi-monthly gig with John Reynolds Quintet/Quartet, occasional performances with Richard Thompson, Kamau Kenyatta, Matt Taylor, Nathan Jarrell, Joey Carano, the Wellers, Richard Sellers, Louis Valenzuela, the Red Fox Tails, Ian Tordella, Mike Wofford, and Holly Hoffman, as well as Jesse LaMonaca & the Dime Novels, and Joe Garrison’s Night People.

Flash forward to 2016, Doug spent the last 3 years as a devoted baby-daddy to his beloved daughter. He’s been under the radar for sure, but still performing occasionally with the Plow, Jesse LaMonaca, Missy Andersen, Robert Dove, Ed Kornhauser, Louie Valenzuela, Irving Flores, David Patrone, and debuted with a new blues-rock originals trio – Do Right Louie – lead by Rich Wiley.