D. R. Commander’s musical style is not easily categorized, but to him, it seems like a perfectly natural product of his many diverse musical experiences. A native of Beaumont, Texas, Commander taught himself the piano at age 7 by playing along with country and pop songs on the local radio stations. He received classical and jazz training on the trumpet in junior high and high school and played for three seasons with the University of Houston Jazz Ensemble before hanging up the trumpet to pursue his first love, the keyboard.
Commander played professionally in the Houston big band, swing, and R&B scene throughout the late 90′s before moving to Austin. From 2002 through 2006, he was the keyboardist for jazz fusion quintet The Harmony Theory, and from 2007 through 2008, he played keys for and contributed several songs to Akina Adderley & the Vintage Playboys (two of those songs appear on their first album.) Since then, Commander has performed both as a singer/songwriter and with a variety of other artists, including Arthur Brown and veteran Austin jam band Flounders Without Eyes. He currently performs with Peter Rowan‘s all-electric band, called Twang & Groove.
Commander’s first solo album, “Seven Cities“, was self-produced over a period of 3 1/2 years and released in April of 2013.