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William Parker

A major bassist and bandleader, William Parker has been one of the leaders on his instrument in the avant-garde since the 1970s. He was born in the Bronx in 1952. Parker studied along the way with Jimmy Garrison, Richard Davis and Wilbur Ware but from the start developed his own high-energy style which included expertise with the bow and the ability to play freely but with a great deal of forward momentum. Early in his career, Parker played with Cecil Taylor, an association that has continued on an occasional basis since the early 1970s. Parker led his first album in 1979, worked frequently with Taylor in the 1980s, and in the ’90s worked much more as a leader. Among his most significant associations of the past 20 years have been David S. Ware, Matthew Shipp, Rob Brown, Peter Brotzmann, Frank Lowe, Bill Dixon, Charles Gayle, Roscoe Mitchell, Butch Morris, Billy Bang, Fred Anderson, Rashied Ali, Perry Robinson and Mat Maneri. As a leader, Parker has headed the big band The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, the since-disbanded In Order To Survive and the co-op quartet Other Dimensions In Music. He has appeared at many music festivals, was one of the founders of the Improvisers Collective and organizes the Vision Festival in NYC with his wife, dancer Patricia Nicholson. Whether featured in a stirring quartet with drummer Hamid Drake or leading an all-star group through his compositions, William Parker has been one of the most significant forces in moving advanced jazz into the 21st century.