In his early teens, Doug formed his first group, The NuTones. They played a variety of Jazz R&B and Rock 'n Roll hits for dances, proms and club dates all over Florida and southeast Georgia. In addition, he held down a post as organist for the A.M.E. church in its 11th Episcopal District.
During his sophomore year in high school, Doug started to play the oboe which eventually earned him a full scholarship to Jacksonville University where he returned to teach in the Jazz Studies Department in 1982. Doug graduated as valedictorian of his high school class. He also received a full scholarship to the U.S. Air Force Academy, which he turned down to pursue his music. Doug, who is now a licensed pilot, often expresses a regret about this action and sometimes wishes he had become an astronaut. About the same time, Doug's creative writing abilities and spiritual ideology began to bear fruit. He was leading an organ trio in L.A. and studying with Larry Young, Jr. (Khalid Yasin Aziz) when the word started to “get around” about Doug's multi-faceted talents. He was soon discovered by Gene Russell who had heard about Doug's innovative lyric adaptation of contemporary jazz classic, i.e., Wayne Shorter's “Infant Eyes” Coltrane's “A Love Supreme,” Bobby Hutcherson's “Little B's Poem” and Horace Silver's “Peace.”
During this same period, Doug also gained critical acclaim as a “Jazz Spatialist” for his “Deft Orchestrations” and horn arrangements. They were inspired by a natural ability to speak the Be-Bop language and a solid foundation in the classical tradition.