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Join us for an evening of celebration and performance!

William Parker – Solo Bass & conversation with Fred Moten on the Legacy of Black Creative Music and Art. 

All Proceeds Support Art for Art's Lifetime Achievement Award.

It is the role of the artist to dance, sing, shout and whisper about all that is wonderful, beautiful and majestic. To mirror and project the present and future, to tell us the stories inside little children’s hearts (giving us a view beyond the horizon). Communicating by the language of stone, wood, soil, the language of happiness, sadness and joy. It is the role of the artist to incite political, social and spiritual revolution. To awaken us from our sleep and never let us forget our obligations as human beings...The idea is to live strongly within this vision without compromises even after being met by a cold gray world that could care less about vision, a world that makes insensitivity and murder of idealism and individualism a standard.” ‒ William Parker


In the early 1970’s, William Parker revolutionized bass playing, using double bow and other extended techniques to bring the bass to the forefront of the band while still holding down the bottom. He developed a unique approach to the interplay of improvisation as a key element in composition as his bands well represent. Parker is an author and educator, a humorist and idealist (he co-led with Patricia Nicholson the Artists for a Free World Marching Band in over 40 demonstrations from 2017 to 2021). He has recorded over 250 albums, published 10 books, and taught and mentored hundreds of young musicians and artists.

Parker’s current active bands include his young new 15 piece-band Huey's PocketWatch, the renowned sextet, Raining on the Moon, Mayan Space Station, his opera Trail of Tears, as well as special projects such as The Essence Of Ellington, the Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield

among others. He has composed music for The Wroclaw Symphony Orchestra as well as host of commissions by large and small ensembles.

He has composed music and librettos for numerous multi-media operas including Vision Peace and Battle Cries at LaMaMa, Mass for the Healing World in Verona. In addition he has written hundreds of pieces of vocal and small band music. All of Parker’s music incorporates his concept of Universal Tonality. They all include improvisational languages and possibilities. Over the decades, Parker has gained a reputation as a leader in the Black Creative Improvised Music and art scene, He has been a connector across artistic disciplines with a long term collaboration with poet, author David Budbill, and with Amiri Baraka and various dance companies including an ongoing collaboration with Patricia Nicholson, dancer and poet that began in the 1970’s, and is now entitled Hope Cries for Justice. Parker has his own visual art practice creating collages and paintings. Parker has published a series of short poetry books. He has been an important source of first and secondhand information on the history of creative music, speaking on panels and teaching in classrooms. As well as with his four hefty volumes of interviews with creative musicians published by RoguArt, Conversations I, II. III & IV. He is the subject of an exhaustive 468-page “sessionography” that documents thousands of performances and recording sessions, a remarkable chronicle of his prolific creative life. Parker is also the subject of an acclaimed biography, published in ? by Cisco Bradley entitled, Universal Tonality. William Parker performs all over the world but he always returns to New York’s Lower East Side, where he has lived since 1975.


In 1996 Patricia Nicholson Parker put on the First Annual Vision Festival, presented at The Learning Alliance

on Lafayette near Houston. The idea was to bring together luminaries from the different creative music

scenes and, for the first time since the Sound Unity Festivals in the mid ‘80s, celebrate the important African

American leaders of the music. Featuring artist Milford Graves, that first Vision Festival was unique in its

multi-arts focus featuring poets such as Amiri Baraka, dancers such as Rod Rogers, and visual artists such

as Jeff Schlanger, in collaboration with the music. Each year the Vision Festival also brought attention to issues of social justice by curating panel discussions, such as “Decolonizing the Music: Reclaiming the Power of Creative Music in Communities of Color” or “How Funding Affects Creative Choices.” In its totality the Vision Festival created and guaranteed a space for improvisation as a leading creative language, heralded as “one of New York’s most essential art events” (New York Times). In the current political and cultural climate, Arts for Art’s credo is felt more strongly than ever ‒ using powerful music and art as expressions of commitment to life and justice. Past festival titles have included A Vision Against Violence, Avant Jazz For Peace, Studies in Freedom, The Revolution Continues, The Creative Option and Take a Stand. The Vision Festival continues to honor and amplify the careers of legendary artists that are too often under appreciated, such as Milford Graves, Kidd Jordan, Sam Rivers, Amina Claudine Myers, Connie Crothers, and many others.


Founded in 1996, Arts for Art (AFA) is a New York City based tax exempt organization dedicated to the

promotion and advancement of Black Multicultural Improvised Creative Arts -- an African American

indigenous art form in which improvisation is principal. This art embodies music, dance, poetry and visual arts. It is recognized for its variety of highly developed and personalized improvisational languages. AFA works to preserve the legacy of FreeJazz, and to ensure a vital future through its re-imagination by new generations of artists. Spearheaded by the internationally renowned Vision Festival, AFA's programming brings together multiple generations of vibrant, diverse and highly skilled artists. To further our goals of diversity and accessibility, we foster education initiatives and produce events that build community amongst

artists and audiences.



Arts for Art is dedicated to the exceptional creativity that originated in the African American multi-arts jazz culture that utilizes improvisation to express a larger, more positive dream of inclusion and freedom.

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