He has worked with Wilson Pickett, who chose him to be his musical director. He has also worked in the same capacity for Luther Vandross for over a decade. He has also worked with high-profile musicians including Stevie Wonder, Bob James, Grover Washington, Jr., Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones and Teddy Pendergrass.
Powell's debut album, Love Is Where It's At (1987), received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Instrumental for his cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On". His credits include work on the music for the feature films The Five Heartbeats and Down and Out in Beverly Hills.
- 1987 Love Is Where It's At (Mercury)
- 1992 The Doctor (Vacuum Tube Log)
- 1996 Laid Back (Discovery)
- 1996 Inner City Blues (Discovery)
- 1997 Don't Let the Smooth Jazz Fool Ya (Discovery)
- 1999 I Claim the Victory (DPR Music)
- 1999 Double Scale: A Windham Hill Jazz Collection (Windham Hill)
- 2001 Life Changes (Samson Music)
- 2003 97th and Columbus (Heads Up)
- 2004 Cool Like That (Heads Up)
- 2006 Doc Powell (Telarc/Heads Up)
- 2010 For Old Times Sake: The Best Of
- 2014 This is Soul