John Russell Parnell was an English bandleader and musician.
Parnell was born into a theatrical family in London. His father Russ Carr was a music hall artist, before becoming a theatrical agent. His uncle Val Parnell was general manager of the London Palladium.
Parnell was educated at Brighton and Hove Grammar School and studied piano from the age of five and drums for a year with Max Abrams. He made his debut, playing the drums for a concert party on the front at Scarborough in 1939. He then worked in a ballroom in Cambridge, before serving with the RAF for three years. He played in a five-piece line-up led by saxophonist Buddy Featherstonhaugh at RAF Bomber Command headquarters in High Wycombe. While he was in the RAF, he met Vic Lewis and together they formed the Vic Lewis/Jack Parnell Jazzmen. He worked with the Ted Heath Band (1944