Flute, bass flute, piano, keyboards, composer, bandleader, educator.
Eddie has been central to some of the most important British jazz in recent years. He was a founder member of and an important composer for Loose Tubes, the legendary UK 1980s big band. He was a key member of the headlining Bheki Mseleku Band, featuring drummer Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith. He also featured as a soloist and composer in Django Bates’ Delightful Precipice.
He leads his own bands "Eddie Parker Quartet" featuring the amazing Kit Downes on piano; “Eddie Parker’s Mister Vertigo” with recent performances and a live album recorded at the Vortex, Dalston. London and “Twittering Machine”, who played at the first International Jazz Festival in Sarajevo in 1997. The Eddie Parker Group has also recorded two albums “Transformations of the Lamp” and “Everything you do to me” on FMR.
Currently Eddie is working as keyboard player and composer with Will Gregory Moog Ensemble, as well as on various recording, performance, composition and educational projects.
Most recently there is a new addition to the Eddie Parker family: Kit Downes, the amazing virtuoso pianist, whom Eddie met during a residency with Aldeburgh Young Musicians at Snape Maltings, August 2012.
Eddie is also performing as a keyboard player with the Will Gregory Moog Ensemble, with a historic live BBC radio performance at Camden Roundhouse in March 2013. In 2012 Eddie performed alongside Will and Adrian Utley of Portishead with the Charles Hazlewood All Stars in recreations of Terry Riley's "A Rainbow In Curved Air" and Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells".
In 1984 - 5 Eddie made many appearences with free improvising drummer John Stevens and was part of the group 'Freebop' alongside Courtney Pine, Annie Whitehead and others.
From 1984 to 1991 Eddie was a founder member of Loose Tubes, contributing several classic pieces to the band repertoire. Loose Tubes performed all over Europe, visited the US and Canada and made many TV and radio appearences. The band held several residencies at Ronnie Scott's Club and also performed at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in 1987.
In 1991 Eddie began playing with South African pianist and saxophonist Bheki Mseleku. In that year they performed and recorded with the American virtuoso drummer Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith, the results of which can be heard on Bheki’s album ‘Celebration’, originally released on World Circuit Records. In November 1994, Eddie performed with Bheki and Smitty at the Johannesburg Jazz Festival.
In Spring 1993 he toured Britain with the Eddie Parker Group. The tour was supported by Jazz Services and Eastern Touring Agency. They played at 13 venues and held five two-day workshops in schools and colleges. The group also completed a second British tour in Autumn 1994, and a third, supported by Jazz Services, in April I May 1996. The band recorded their first album “Transformations of the Lamp” in May 1994 on FMR and the second album, “Everything you do to me”, also on FMR was released in 1997.
In 1993 he toured Britain with Django Bates’ Delightful Precipice with a final gig at Berlin Jazz Festival. Other International Festival performances include Le Mans (France), Molde (Norway), Copenhagen (Denmark), Wiessen (Austria), Guimaraes (Portugal). With Chris Batchelor he also co-led an education project, based on Django Bates compositions. The tour and education projects were supported by Contemporary Music Network. Eddie appears as soloist on both of their albums and on other Django Bates albums “Music for the Third Policeman” and “City in Euphoria, World in Chaos”.
Eddie was nominated for the British Jazz Awards 1994.
In 1997, Eddie Parker’s “Twittering Machine” was invited to perform at the first Sarajevo International Jazz Festival.
In 1999, Eddie Parker’s Mister Vertigo toured Britain, supported by Jazz Services.
Eddie continues to perform with his Quartet, Mister Vertigo, Twittering Machine, and trio Turning World.
As well as being one of the world’s finest jazz flute players, Eddie is also renowned as a composer.
Recently Eddie was shortlisted for the Britten Sinfonia Opus 2013 Composer's Award. Ten composers were shortlisted from 250 applicants accross the UK. For this competition Eddie wrote "Bright, Toward Heaven's Descent" for oboe, harp and string quartet, a highly evocative essay on the passing of the seasons inspired by Eddie's home environment in rural Gloucestershire.
Eddie has also recently composed music for the Will Gregory Moog Ensemble including "Ocean of Heaven", a deeply meditative depiction of ocean swells.
For Loose Tubes he wrote ‘Sosbun Brakk’ (on Loose Tubes second album Delightful Precipice) and ‘Children’s Game’ and ‘Last Word’ (on their third album ‘Open Letter). In 1990, his orchestral piece, ‘Tin Tin Goes to Hell’, was performed by Loose Tubes and the Docklands Sinfonietta.
In 1989 he wrote ‘The Status Quo’ conducted by John HarIe and performed by students at the Guildhall.
In 1993 he was commissioned to write a piece (Ninety-nine Umbrellas) for the Jazz Umbrella Group ‘Nine Umbrellas’, and in 1994, for a piece (Ten Thousand Umbrellas) for the London Jazz Festival.
In October 1994 by South West Arts to write a piece (Austromancy) for the Bristol-based band ‘Ultrasound’, premiered at The Hope Centre Bristol.
‘Cartoons’, a virtuoso piece for the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, was given its world premiere at the Almeida Theatre in February 1995.
‘Autogeddon’, (Arts Council Commission) was performed by Saxtet with Anthony Kerr and Paul Clarvis for a week in February 1997 at the Pleasance Theatre, London.
‘Open Skies’, (London Arts Board Commission) for professional band and 150 school performers was performed at Kidbrooke School Community Venue London in November 2000.
‘Three Anagrams for Kurt Schwitters’, for percussion ensemble, commissioned by Ensemble Bash and first performed at Cheltenham Contemporary Music Series, November 2004.
Education and Community Work
Now resident in Gloucestershire, Eddie is a director of the innovative and highly successful jazz and improvisation Education Company, Groove On. Previously, his company Impro Integrated Music Projects designed and run projects with Akasae, Delightful Precipice and the Eddie Parker Group and training courses for teachers and musicians. Impro led Brecon Jazz Festival's Education and Outreach project for 3 years. People Symphony was a major education and performance project which ran in four London boroughs for one year (2001-2), funded by Youth Music. Groove On was originally a project which supported children’s music making through the transition from junior to secondary school.
Groove On continues to reach thousands of children in Gloucestershire schools.
From 1998 - 2006 Eddie was a Senior Lecturer in Jazz at Middlesex University, where he was module leader for Jazz Composition, being responsible for the design, (which included the development of innovative teaching materials and approaches), implementation and assessment of the module. He also ran several Ensembles there and contributed several original compositions to their repertoire, as well as arrangements and adaptations of contemporary material transcribed by him (Weather Report etc). He was also Programme Leader of the newly validated Music in the Community BA.
Previously Eddie directed Impro's three-year project (1998-2000) Developing Musical Communities in Southeast London. The project was funded by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of England, Gulbenkian Foundation, London Arts Board and Greenwich Borough Council, with an outreach phase (1997) funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation
In 1990, he presented a video for beginner flautists, one of the ‘Music Makers’ series on MCEG Virgin Video.
In Summer 1993 he led an educational residency at Cheltenham International Festival of Music with his African / Brazilian Jazz Group Akasae. In 1995 he completed two more educational residencies in Bath and Essex with Akasae culminating respectively in performances at Bath International Music Festival and Royal Festival Hall Foyer, London. Their performances feature many of Eddie's compositions. Akasae also ran a teachers' course at the South Bank Centre.
Also in 1993, he led educational residencies in Bristol and Birmingham, linked to the Arts Council Contemporary Music Network's tour of Django Bates' Delightful Precipice.
Eddie was PRS Composer in Education at Cheltenham International Festival of Music in 1994 and Composer in Residence to a large-scale education project at Greenwich Festival in 1995.