Photo: Bryony McIntyre

William Parker

Bassist William Parker emerged from the underground loft scene in NYC in the late 70’s and early 80’s: a self supporting, artist run community and network of loft venues that kept the fire burning through some of the longer nights for Free Jazz. Although perhaps just starting out at that time, and not particularly high-profile in the 80’s either, the magnitude of William’s talent (as well as his tireless contribution to others’ art; finding gigs, keeping the community together) is nowadays, rightly admired. 

As well as playing bass with David S. Ware and leading his own ensembles he’s an profound, spiritual and time altering soloist, both on bass and on the 8-string doson ngoni (a hunter’s traditional guitar from West Africa).  Drawing on the sap that has flown from the boughs of free jazz, and the ancient cultural codex that connects Africa to The Americas, William cradles, hammers, and rains down blows, plucking and using 2 bows to attack the strings above and below the bridge, bringing an incredible technique to bear on the bass, but all in the service of a fiery and passionate creativity, a deep spirituality and honest desire to use art to enhance human connections through his spirituals of coruscating energy and gentle space.


"Those in the music business say this music can only be so successful. I say there is no limit to what we can do for each other as human beings." - William Parker

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    Credits / license
    • CC BY-NC-ND 4.0