Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Parker, Kim, singer; b. New York City, NY, 22 August 1946. Parker was steeped in jazz from day one, having spent her first seven years on 52nd Street. Yet it was her mother, Chan Parker, who initially introduced Kim to jazz. Chan Parker was a dancer at the time, and always had a passion for jazz. Kim's grandmother, a former Ziegfeld Girl, hat-checked at the 21 Club and the Cotton Club. As a result, Kim Parker's earliest friends were musicians, strippers, and doormen. The glamour of 52nd Street, jazz, clubs, and the music as a whole unfortunately, often only remained in the ear of the jazz listener. Having been raised at a time of Bird's most emotionally difficult period, Kim witnessed it all. Kim was almost age eight when her infant sister, Pree, died of pneumonia. This event, more than any other single factor, accelerated Bird's decline and caused considerable stress and grief to the family. In an attempt to survive this loss, the Parker's moved to New Hope, Pennsylvania, when only one year later, Bird himself died. Five months later, the Parker home suffered a flood, and lost everything.
Life took a turn for the better, however, when Kim reached eleven; by this time her mother Chan had been involved with Phil Woods, and soon married him. When she was thirteen, Kim Parker was living in Europe, spending time in a Swiss boarding school, learning to ski, and learning to "keep my elbows off the table," while her new step-father toured with the Quincy Jones Orchestra. The Parker-Woods family returned to the United States where Kim completed her high school education. Here and now was also Kim's "jazz" debut when she sang a program for her high school. Her band was composed of her step-father Phil Woods, Gary Burton, Steve Swallow and Chris Swanson. After graduating, Kim spent her first year at Hofstra University on a full scholarship in drama and was named "Best Jazz Vocalist" at the Villanova Intercollegiate Jazz Festival. In the intervening years, Kim would be married, travel often back and forth to France ("to work on the family house") become a farmer, housepainter, and, a dropout. In 1976, Kim Parker became a mother, giving birth to her son, Alekzander.
Over the years Kim has worked with Richie Cole, John Coates, Jr., Kenny Clarke, Joe Cohn, Bob Dorough, Eric Doney, Bill Dobbins, Kenny Drew, Tommy Flanagan, Sonny Fortune, Michael Fomanek, Bruce Forman, Mitchel Forman, William Galison, Hal Galper, Steve Gilmore, Bill Goodwin, Simon Goubert, Michel Graillier, Al Grey, Tom Harrell, Daniel Humair, Per Husby, Ratso Harris, Dennis Irwin, Alain Jean-Marie, Vic Juris, Eric Kloss, Don Lanphere, Steve LaSpina, Jesper Lundgaard, Turk Mauro, Ron McClure, Nexus, Adam Nussbaum, Dick Oats, Tiger Okoshi, Emily Remler, Joe Roccisano, Hakan Rydin Trio (for many years), Steve Swallow, Chris Swansen, Billy Taylor, Jacky Terrasson, Ed Thigpen, Jean-Philippe Viret, Mal Waldron, Benny Waters, Mads Winding, the Phil Woods Quintet, George Young, and Eliot Zigmund to mention a few.
Festivals she's performed at include the Celebration of the Arts (COTA), USA - 1979-89, 1993-1997, North Sea, Holland - 1981, Barcelona Jazz Festival,Spain - 1981, Kool Jazz Festival, USA - 1983, Women in Jazz, USA 1984, Bethlehem Musikfest, USA - 1987, International Festival of Jazz, Montreal - 1989 & 1999, Calvi Festival, Corsica - 1990, Besancon Jazz Festival, France - 1991, Uzeste Festival, France - 1992, Mostre Jazz, Spain - 1992, TBB festival, France - 1992, Perpignon Jazz Festival, France - 1992, and the Cork Festival, Ireland - 1993.
Some of her major European tours include France- 1982, '84, 1987-94, Norway - 1982-83, '90, Italy - 1981-81, '90,'92, England - 1985, Belgium - 1987, '90, '92, Sweden - 1988-93, USSR - 1990, Spain - 1992, and Ireland - 1993.
Havin' Myself A Time (with Kenny Drew) (1981); Good Girl; Sometimes I'm Blue (with Mal Waldron) (1985); Beautiful Friendship (1996)
Larry Gelb: New Souls, The Language Of Blue, The Third Annual Delaware Water Gap Celebration Of The Arts; Phil Woods: More Mistletoe Magic, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn; Various artists: The Art Of Romance
Nobody Knows Indio: French Short Subject 1983; La Memoire Tatouee: Singing Voice Of Julie Christie 1985 Feature; Bizarre Rituals-Dances Sacred And Profane: Documentary 1987
Jazz At The Delaware Water Gap: PBS 1983; The Joe Franklin Show 1983-85; Jazz-In Swiss - German TV 1986
Talent Deserving Wider Recognition: 31, 32, 33rd Annual Down Beat Critic's Poll