William Parker William Parker

William Parker is a musician, improviser, composer, educator, and author. He plays the bass, shakuhachi, double reeds, tuba, donso ngoni and gembri. Born in 1952 in the Bronx, New York, he studied bass with Richard Davis, Art Davis, Milt Hinton, Wilber Ware, Jimmy Garrison, and Paul West. During Parker’s prolific career, he has recorded over 150 albums, had countless celebrated stage appearances, and helped shaped the jazz scene for both his peers and the youth. In 2013, Parker received the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in recognition of his influence and impact on the creative jazz scene over the last 40 years.

William entered the music scene in 1971, playing at Studio We, Studio Rivbea, Hilly’s on The Bowery, and The Baby Grand. By the age of 20, Parker quickly became a highly sought after bassist, playing with established musicians such as Ed Blackwell, Don Cherry, Bill Dixon, Milford Graves, Billy Higgins, and Sunny Murray. Projects with dancer and choreographer Patricia Nicholson have created a huge repertoire of composed music for multiple ensembles ranging from solo works to big band projects. In 1980, he became a member of the Cecil Taylor Unit, in which he played a prominent role for over a decade.

Since the beginning of his career, William Parker has commanded a unique degree of respect from his fellow musicians and critics alike. In 1995, the Village Voice characterized William Parker as “the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time.” In addition to his work with artists in the United States, he has developed a strong relationship with musicians in the European Improvised Music scene such as Peter Kowald, Peter Brotzmann, Han Bennink, Tony Oxley, Derek Bailey, John Tchicai, Louis Sclavis, and Louis Moholo.

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January 10, 2020

Jazz Musician of the Day: William Parker

January 10, 2019

Jazz Musician of the Day: William Parker

October 26, 2018

Esperanza Spalding and William Parker Perform At Mind-Builders 40th...

January 10, 2018

Jazz Musician of the Day: William Parker

May 08, 2017

William Parker Quartet & In Order To Survive Double-Album To Be...

April 19, 2017

Jazz At Atlas Debuts In Newburgh, NY With William Parker And Evidence...

March 15, 2017

William Parker & Stefano Scodanibbio Bass Duo To Be Released March 24...

January 10, 2017

Jazz Musician of the Day: William Parker

March 03, 2016

New Work From William Parker Featuring Lisa Sokolov & Cooper-Moore To...

January 10, 2016

Jazz Musician of the Day: William Parker

November 18, 2015

Kickstarter: Inner-Attunement With Hamid Drake & William Parker

June 01, 2015

William Parker 3-CD Box Set Of New Works To Be Released August 21 On...

January 10, 2015

Jazz Musician of the Day: William Parker

May 18, 2014

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Peter Brotzmann, William Parker and...

January 10, 2014

Jazz Musician of the Day: William Parker

November 04, 2013

Navajo Sunrise The New Album By Daniel Carter, William Parker and...

October 24, 2013

Jazz This Week: "A Night in Treme," William Parker's in Order to...

October 20, 2013

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Spotlight on William Parker

September 11, 2013

William Parker Launches New Monday Jazz Series At Quinn's, New Music...

August 20, 2013

William Parker 8CD Box Set Of Previously Unissued Recordings To Be...


Albums by William Parker

Album Live/Shapeshifter by William Parker


AUM Fidelity

Album Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics by William Parker

Lake of Light:...

Gotta Let It Out

Album Meditation / Resurrection by William Parker

Meditation /...

AUM Fidelity

Album Bass Duo by William Parker

Bass Duo

Centering Records

Album Stan's Hat Flapping in the Wind by William Parker

Stan's Hat Flapping...

Centering Records



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