Don was born in Colorado, and was greatly influenced by his Latvian immigrant father. Don grew-up in Colorado as a wannabe cattleman, played sports in school and had music to fall back on. If you were raised in the Grusin household you had to play piano. Don began his music studies at age 6. His musical influences included square dancing, country-western bands at the Grange, pianists Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Vladimir Horowitz, and his father’s walking through the house, playing the 2nd violin parts of Bartok quartets. Their small town R was also an influence.