8 Songs, 59 Minutes


About Errol Parker

Errol Parker's music, though largely overlooked by the jazz establishment, was quite fresh and original. Utilizing poly-tonality (playing in two keys at once), simultaneous soloing, and his own drumming (which achieves an African sound by substituting a conga for the snare drum), Parker's tentet sounded unlike any other group. Mostly self-taught on piano, he moved to Paris in 1947 to study sculpture but was soon playing jazz. Parker (under his original name Raph Schecroun) recorded on sessions led by Kenny Clarke, James Moody, and Django Reinhardt, and played off and on with Don Byas during 1956-1958. He recorded some commercial music on organ in 1960 and then, to escape from an exclusive contract so as to record jazz versions of Top 40 material on piano, he used the pseudonym Errol Parker. The latter records sold so well that he permanently changed his name. A car accident in 1963 cut short his commercial success and forced Parker to change his style. After moving to New York in 1968, he formed the Errol Parker Experience, which featured two horns. Because he was not satisfied with any other drummers, he began doubling on drums himself and the first few records for his Sahara label find Parker playing (via overdubbing) both piano and drums. In 1982, while teaching at the Williamsburg Music Center, he formed a big band that eventually became his tentet. Due to the eight horns he utilized, Parker stopped playing piano except for solo engagements and stuck to drums. His recordings (which include a solo piano tribute to Thelonious Monk) utilized such sidemen as Robin Eubanks, Wallace Roney, Donald Harrison, Steve Coleman, Graham Haynes, Philip Harper, Byard Lancaster, and Jimmy Owens, among others. Parker died of liver cancer on June 2, 1998. ~ Scott Yanow

    Oran, Algeria
  • BORN
    October 30, 1926

Top Songs by Errol Parker

Top Albums by Errol Parker