All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Doug Kassel

Doug Kassel


A native Chicagoan, Doug has led a double life as part of the Bay Area music and improvisational theater scenes since 1972. Having his initial roots in Jazz from both his grandfather, Chicago Jazz cornetist Jimmy McPartland and his step-grandmother, legendary pianist and Piano Jazz host, Marian McPartland, he also began studying drums at a young age with his mentor, drummer Joe Morello (The Dave Brubeck Quartet).

Later, growing up in the Old Town section of Chicago and around the corner from The Second City, Doug began workshops with the creator of Theater Games, Viola Spolin, during the writing of her groundbreaking book, Improvisation For The Theater. He later performed with Spolin's Playmakers, The Game Theater (with Peter Boyle) and Paul Sills' Story Theater.

Like many baby-boomers, he also played in high school garage bands during the British Invasion, both in Chicago and while attending school in Mexico. After 2 1/2 years in Mexico, he returned to perform in a Story Theater production during the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention, The American Revolution, Part I. He then began a stint with Chicago's famous Second City-based, satirical country-rock band, Wilderness Road.

He also joined former Stan Kenton arranger/composer William Russo's multi-media rock ensemble, The Free Theater, part of the Columbia College Center for New Music, where he performed numerous rock cantatas as a member of both the Chicago and London companies. He also spent time in the orchestra pit for a Chicago production of Murray Schisgal's Jimmy Shine (score by John Sebastian) featuring Shelley Long, Mandy Patinkin and Jim Jacobs (co-author of Grease), as well as San Francisco's first fully staged and orchestrated production of Jesus Christ, Superstar, with a young John Pattitucci.

Read more


Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.