Horace Parlan

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Horace Parland.png
Horace Parlan
Born(1931-01-19)January 19, 1931
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedFebruary 23, 2017(2017-02-23) (aged 86)
Korsør, Denmark
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
LabelsBlue Note, SteepleChase

Horace Parlan (January 19, 1931 – February 23, 2017)[1] was an American pianist and composer known for working in the hard bop and post-bop styles of jazz. In addition to his work as a bandleader Parlan was known for his contributions to the Charles Mingus recordings Mingus Ah Um and Blues & Roots.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States.[2] In his birth year, Parlan was stricken with polio, resulting in the partial crippling of his right hand. The handicap contributed to his development of a particularly "pungent" left-hand chord voicing style, while comping with highly rhythmic phrases with the right.[3]

Later life and career[edit]

Between 1952 and 1957, he worked in Washington D.C. with Sonny Stitt, then spent two years with Mingus' Jazz Workshop.[3] In 1973, Parlan moved to Copenhagen, Denmark. He later settled in the small village of Rude in southern Zealand. In 1974, he completed a State Department tour of Africa with Hal Singer.[3]

His later work, such as a series of duos with the tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp included the album Goin' Home (1977),[2] steeped in gospel music.

Parlan received the 2000 Ben Webster Prize awarded by the Ben Webster Foundation.

He died at a nursing home in Naestved, Denmark at the age of 86. He had been suffering from multiple ailments, including diabetes and failing eyesight.[4][5]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Dave Bailey

With Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

With Lou Donaldson

With Booker Ervin

With Dexter Gordon

With Slide Hampton

With Roland Kirk

With Charles Mingus

With Doug Raney

With Archie Shepp

With Idrees Sulieman

  • Bird's Grass (SteepleChase, 1985) – recorded in 1976
  • Groovin' (SteepleChase, 1986) – recorded in 1985

With Stanley Turrentine

With others


  1. ^ "Jazzlegenden Horace Parlan er død". Sn.dk. 25 February 2017. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1911. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  3. ^ a b c Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira (18 November 1999). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford University Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-19-972907-4. Retrieved October 3, 2021 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Horace Parlan, Jazz Pianist Who Overcame Disability, Dies at 86". Billboard.com. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  5. ^ "Horace Parlan, jazz pianist who overcame disability, dies at 86 - the Washington Post". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2020-10-22. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  6. ^ "A Moon Of Roses (1994, CD)". Discogs.com. Retrieved October 3, 2021.

External links[edit]