Horace Parlan (born January 19, 1931) is an American hard bop and post-bop piano player. He is noted for his contributions to the classic Charles Mingus recordings Mingus Ah Um and Blues & Roots. As a child, Parlan was stricken with polio, resulting in the partial crippling of his right hand. The handicap, though, has contributed to his development of a particularly “pungent” left-hand chord voicing style, while comping with highly rhythmic phrases with the right.Between 1952 and 1957, he worked in Washington DC with Sonny Stitt and then spent two years with Charles Mingus’ Jazz Workshop. In 1973, Parlan moved to Copenhagen, Denmark. He later settled in the small village Rude in southern Zealand. In 1974 he did a State Department tour of Africa with Hal Singer.His later work, notably a series of duos with the tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp, including the album Goin’ Home, is steeped in gospel music. He was recipient of the 2000 Ben Webster Prize given by the Ben Webster Foundation.
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