Doug Carn, destined from birth to become a part of the world of music, was born in New York City and raised in St. Augustine, Florida, where his mother, Gwendolyn Seniors Carn, taught music in the St. Johns County Public School System. Her unique and special teaching abilities provided a fertile ground for his future development.
Doug started piano lessons at the age of five but switched to the alto sax at eight. His uncle, Bill Seniors, a jazz aficionado and DJ, turned Doug on to all of the jazz of the late forties and early fifties. He was also a key figure in Doug's musical development.
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.
Jazz critic Pete Welding said in a Downbeat Magazine Review that Carn's music's "chief distinction stemmed from leader Carn's writing for voice and horns... The vocal lines, sung by his wife were thoroughly integral parts of the arrangements, not just vocals with instrumental accompaniment." "The most attractive component of the group's music is Carn's deft orchestrations, which give it a much larger sound than it's instrumentation would suggest".