A very in-demand bassist for recording sessions (especially when Paul Chambers, his cousin by marriage, was not available), Doug Watkins was a basic soloist but a superb accompanist. After gaining experience as one of many very talented Detroit jazzmen in the local scene, touring with James Moody (1953) and playing with Barry Harris Trio, Watkins settled in New York in 1954. He was a member of the original version of the Jazz Messengers from 1955-1956, spent a year with Horace Silver Quintet, and then freelanced with a who's who of hard bop, including Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Gene Ammons, Art Farmer, Kenny Burrell, Phil Woods, and Hank Mobley, among many others. He was Charles Mingus' choice to play bass in his 1961 group when Mingus was temporarily specializing on piano. Tragically, a car accident ended his life at age 27. Doug Watkins led a session apiece for Transition (1960) and New Jazz (1960), playing some cello on the latter.