Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Parker, William

Parker, William, bassist; b. Bront, NY, 10 January 1952.

Parker is an internationally recognized bassist and composer whom the Village Voice recently called "the most consistently brilliant free-jazz bassist of all time".

Parker played cello in junior school and acquired a bass in the last year of high school. He remembers being sent with 99 cents to the store to buy Duke Ellington records for his father. He found a cut-price record by Ornette Coleman and rapidly became interested in the New Thing: John Coltrane, Albert Ayler and Archie Shepp. He attended sessions at Studio We in the early 70s, playing with Sam Rivers and Frank Lowe amongst others, and was involved with a Cecil Taylor big band at Carnegie Hall in 1973.

Parker married in 1974 and worked at his day-job for the housing authority for a short time, then quit to play the Five Spot with Don Cherry. He next played with drummer Rashid Baker in Jemeel Moondoc's band and in 1980 also joined Taylor, with whom he has continued to work regularly throughout the 80s and early 90s in a variety of settings, including the pianist's recent Feel Trio. Other long-term associates - in addition to Taylor and Moondoc - have included Peter Kuhn, Billy Bang and Bill Dixon, and Parker is also much in demand in New York's avant garde scene, appearing with experimenters such as Wayne Horvitz, Butch Morris and Ellen Christi.

In 1989 Parker started a trio with Peter Brotzmann (saxophone) and Milford Graves (drums) and in 1990 recorded with drummer Dennis Charles in a trio led by up-and-coming saxophonist Rob Brown (Breath Rhyme). Parker has a warm sound, and whether he is setting up simple vamps or responding to the torrential Taylor, his playing is always strong and creative.

For more than 25 years, Parker has collaborated with a wide variety of contemporary musicians, including David S. Ware, Peter Brotzmann, Matthew Shipp, Rashied Ali, Roscoe Mitchell, and Muhal Richard Abrams. Parker has composed music for dance and dramas, and has played bass in big bands and small ensembles. In July 1997, Parker performed a solo bass concert in Washington DC to a capacity crowd.

Through Acceptance Of The Mystery Peace (1979); Testimony (1996); In Order To Survive (1996); Flowers Grow In My Room (1996); The Peach Orchard (1999); Lifting The Sanctions (1999); Posium Pendasem (2000); Painter's Song (2000); O'Neal's Porch (2002); The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra: Sunrise In The Tone World (1998), Mayor Of Punkville (2000);
As sideperson:
Wayne Horvitz: Some Order, Long Understood (1983); Charles Gayle: Touchin' On Trane (1991); Matthew Shipp: Zo (1994); John Zorn: Harras (1995); Joe Morris: Invisible Weave (1997); Matthew Shipp: DNA (1999), Magnetism (1999); Fred Anderson: 2 Days in April (2000); Hamid Drake: Volume 1: Piercing The Veil (2001)

Discography: http://www.velocity.net/~bb10k/PARKER.disc.html

Contact information:
Website: http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Lofts/2553/parker.html
His booking agent is:
Marc Minsker
230 South Gregg Street
Columbia, SC 29205

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