top of page

William Parker is
In Search of Enlightenment

William Parker LIGHT Ensemble:

Sep 8 & 23, 2023 at 7pm, doors 6:30

William Parker Big Band and Voice Choir

Sep 28 & 30, 2023 at 7pm, doors 6:30



In September, FourOneOne hosts William Parker, the improviser, composer, bandleader, and numinous griot from the Bronx. Parker's project, "In Search of Enlightenment," spans rehearsals, workshops, and performances with two ensembles, the William Parker Big Band and Voice Chorus and the William Parker LIGHT Ensemble. Developed in conjunction with new and longtime collaborators, both groups foreground the spiritual aspirations that have been integral to Parker’s practice since the 1970's, and further develop his deeply held convictions of the healing capacities of performance.

William Parker is a bassist, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, activist, mentor, educator, treasured raconteur, and longtime resident of the Lower East Side. Born in the Bronx in 1952, he studied the double bass with Jimmy Garrison, Richard Davis, and Wilbur Ware, and began performing in the early 1970s. His invaluable and ongoing contributions to creative improvised music take form in over 150 album recordings, six books, teaching and mentorship of hundreds of young musicians and artists, and an essential role as a community connector and caretaker-griot for the history of Black American creative music. A player of the shakuhachi, double reeds, tuba, donso ngoni, and gembri as well as the bass, Parker emerged as a key figure in American and European creative music scenes in the 1970s and 1980s through close collaborations with iconic pianist Cecil Taylor, German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, New York tenor David S. Ware, and Chicago percussionist Hamid Drake. In the 1990s, he embarked on equally successful turns as a bandleader, composer, and recording artist in his own right. In the words of artist Faye Victor, Parker remains "a beacon of light and wisdom" for new generations of performers and audiences globally, through his unflagging performances, teaching, and numerous collaborations with artists worldwide.

William Parker LIGHT ensemble:

Rob Brown - alto saxophone
Juan Pablo Carletti - drums
Ellen Christi - vocals
Jason Kao Hwang - violin
Patricia Nicholson - voice & movement
William Parker - bass & more

William Parker’s Little Huey Pocket Watch:


Rob Brown - alto
Aakash Mittal- alto
Isaiah Barr - tenor
Alfredo Colon - Tenor
Dave Sewelson - bari
Jennifer Simone  - baritone

Heru Shabaka-Ra trumpet
Masahiko Kono - trombone

Luke Stewart - bass
Michael Gilbert  - bass
Colson Jimenez  - bass

Hans Young Binter - piano
Juan Pablo Carletti - drums
Mshindi Williams - percussion

William Parker's Spirit Voices:

Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez

Ellen Christi

Kyoko Kitamura

Luisa Muhr

Remzi Yıldırım

DoYeon Kim

bottom of page