Philadelphia, PA Map
William Parker's Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield
William Parker, the famed bassist and preeminent figure in free jazz today, penetrates and draws inspiration from the songbook of Curtis Mayfield in an unprecedented exploration of what Parker terms, "the soundtrack of the civil rights movement." Fiery, improvised vocals unearth and expand upon the political consciousness of Mayfield's work, in a performance that combines the avant-garde forms and progressive attitudes of two musical legends. Philadelphia's own Ursula Rucker will join Parker for this special engagement!
William Parker is a master musician, improviser, and composer. He plays the bass, shakuhachi, double reeds, tuba, donso ngoni and gembri. He was born in 1952 in the Bronx, New York. He studied bass with Richard Davis, Art Davis, Milt Hinton, Wilber Ware, and Jimmy Garrison. He entered the music scene in 1971 playing at Studio We, Studio Rivbea, Hilly's on The Bowery and The Baby Grand, playing with many musicians of the avant-garde school Bill Dixon, Sunny Murray, Charles Tyler, Billy Higgins, Charles Brackeem, Alan Silva, Frank Wright, Frank Lowe, Rashid Ali, Donald Ayler, Don Cherry, Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Lyons, Milford Graves and with traditionalists like Walter Bishop, Sr. and Maxine Sullivan. Early projects with dancer and choreographer Patricia Nicholson created a huge repertoire of composed music for multiple ensembles ranging from solo works to big band projects. Parker also played in the Cecil Taylor Unit from 1980 through 1991.
He developed a strong relationship with the European Improvised Music scene playing with musicians such as Peter Kowald, Peter Brotzmann, Han Bennink, Tony Oxley, Derek Bailey, Louis Sclavis, and Louis Moholo. He began recording in 1994 and leading his own bands on a regular basis founding two ensembles, In Order To Survive, and The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra. In 2001, Parker released O'Neal's Porch, which marked a turn toward a more universal sound working with drummer Hamid Drake. The Raining on the Moon Quintet followed, adding vocalist Leena Conquest and the Quartet from O'Neal's Porch. Most notable among many recent projects is the Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield. He has taught at Bennington College, NYU, The New England Conservatory of Music, Cal Arts, New School University and Rotterdam Conservatory of Music. He has also taught music workshops throughout the world including Paris, Berlin and Tokyo and the Lower East Side. Parker is a theorist and author of several books including the Sound Journal, Document Humanum, Music and the Shadow People and The Mayor of Punkville.
Ars Nova Workshop is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization. As a facilitator between artists and their audiences, Ars Nova Workshop works to inform, inspire and challenge listeners in order to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation and experimental music in contemporary culture.