Horace Parlan (born 19 January 1931) is an American hard bop and post-bop piano player.
As a child, Parlan was stricken with polio, resulting in the partial crippling of his right hand. To compensate, he developed a powerful left hand and evolved a distinctive style that blends echoes of bop and the blues blend to great effect.
Parlan started playing piano at an early age and his first professional work was with R&B bands in the the early and mid-1950s.
Between 1952 and 1957, he worked in Washington DC with Sonny Stitt and then spent two years with Charles Mingus’ Jazz Workshop in New York, where he played on the classic recordings Mingus Ah Um and Blues & Roots.
In the early 1970s, he moved to Denmark where he played with local and visiting musicians, including Dexter Gordon, Archie Shepp and Michal Urbaniak. In 1974, he did a State Department tour of Africa with Hal Singer.
In the late 1970s, he teamed up with tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp to make a series of duo recordings, including the heavily gospel-influenced album Goin’ Home.
In 2000, Parlan received the Ben Webster Prize from the Ben Webster Foundation.
This excerpt of the documentary Horace Parlan by Horace Parlan features his own composition ‘Love and Peace’.