William Parker is a bassist, improviser, composer, writer, and educator from New York City. He has recorded over 150 albums, published six books, and taught and mentored hundreds of young musicians and artists.
He has been called “one of the most inventive bassists/leaders since [Charles] Mingus,” and “the creative heir to Jimmy Garrison and Paul Chambers...directly influenced by ‘60s avant-gardists like Sirone, Henry Grimes and Alan Silva.” The Village Voice called him, “the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time” and Time Out New York named him one of the “50 Greatest New York Musicians of All Time.”
Parker’s current active bands include the large-band Little Huey Creative Orchestra, the Raining on the Moon Sextet, the In Order to Survive Quartet, Stan’s Hat Flapping in the Wind, the Cosmic Mountain Quintet with Hamid Drake, Kidd Jordan, and Cooper-Moore, as well as a deep and ongoing solo bass study. His recordings have long been documented by the AUM Fidelity record label and on his own Centering Records, among others. He also has a duo project "Hope Cries For Justice" with Patricia Nicholson Parker which combines music, story telling, poetry and dance
Over the decades, Parker has developed a reputation as a connector and hub of information concerning the history of creative music, recently culminating in a two hefty volumes of interviews with over 60 avant-garde and creative musicians, Conversations I & II. He is also the subject of an exhaustive 468-page “sessionography” that documents thousands of performances and recording sessions, a remarkable chronicle of his prolificness as an active artist.
He has been a key figure in the New York and European creative music scenes since the 1970s, and has worked all over the world. He has performed with Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Peter Brotzmann, Milford Graves, Peter Kowald, and David S. Ware, among many others.
William Parker works all over the world but he always returns to New York’s Lower East Side, where he has lived since 1975.