J. D. Parran is an American multi-woodwind player, educator, and composer specializing in jazz and free improvised music. He plays the soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophone, as well as the E-flat clarinet, clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, contra-alto clarinet, flute, piccolo, alto flute, bamboo flute, Native American flute, bamboo saxophone, and nagaswaram. Parran possesses a virtuosic technique and mastery over a number of extended techniques for these instruments.
Parran spent his college years in the St. Louis, Missouri area, where he attended Webster University and received an M.A. degree in music education from Washington University in St. Louis. While a university student, he joined the Black Artists' Group along with Hamiet Bluiett and others. He has lived in New York since 1971, and has served as chairman of the music department and the director of Jazz and African American Music Studies at The Harlem School of the Arts. He also teaches at the City University of New York and Greenwich House Music School.