Chris Parker is a multi-instrumentalist and music educator based in the Midwest. He has
performed or recorded with Dave Stryker, Rich Perry, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Scott Wendholt, Randy Brecker, Greg Ward, Chris Potter, Jim Ridl, Tim Armacost, Charlie Ballantine, Jamey Aebersold, Frank Glover, Jim Snidero, Monika Herzig, Rob Dixon, and many others. He maintains a private teaching studio, serves as the President of Bloomington, IN nonprofit “B’Town Jazz”, and is on the jazz faculty at the University of Indianapolis. In addition to an extensive discography as a sideman, his debut album as a leader (“Moving Forward Now”) and 2-track EP (“Interstate EP”) are available on all online music platforms. Chris will complete his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in the Spring of 2021.
Chris Parker is a jazz drummer/music educator hailing from Bloomington, Indiana. His performance and recording credits include Chris Potter, Randy Brecker, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Greg Ward, Rich Perry, Scott Wendholt, Charlie Ballantine, Jamey Aebersold, Jim Snidero, Rob Dixon and many others. Parker began playing the drums at age 11, and with the support of his parents was quickly enrolled in various extra-curricular music programs. Upon entering middle school, he was introduced to jazz music by educator and jazz pianist Monika Herzig.
Parker was mentored extensively by his high school band director (and legendary music educator) Janis Stockhouse. While studying with her, he performed with the school’s top jazz ensemble as a drummer, guitarist, and saxophonist. He also won top honors annually at many high school jazz festivals with that ensemble and his jazz trio, “Trio Collective”. His junior year, Trio Collective was awarded Downbeat Magazine’s student music award for Best High School Jazz Combo; they were then invited to perform at the 2015 Jazz Education Network conference in San Diego, CA. While in high school, Parker regularly performed with professors at the IU Jacobs School of Music as a sideman, and performed on several occasions with NYC saxophonist Jim Snidero.
Upon graduating from high school in 2015, he attended Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music on full-tuition scholarship where he majored in Jazz Studies (drum set emphasis). He studied drums with Steve Houghton and Sean Dobbins, and euphonium with Daniel Perantoni. Additionally, he studied improvisation and jazz music with saxophonist Greg Ward. While at IU, he performed with the IU Marching Hundred, IU Symphonic Band, Men’s Big Red Basketball Band, and the top jazz big band and combo. During his time at IU, Parker maintained an active private teaching studio. From 2015-2019, Chris served on staff and faculty for the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops. In 2019, he directed his own combo and ran a nightly jam session for students. As a clinician, he has presented clinics on listening, transcription, and drum set performance practice and technique at various jazz festivals throughout the Midwest.
Parker has served as Vice President (2015-2021) and currently President (2021-Present) for the Bloomington, IN nonprofit “B’Town Jazz”. He oversees numerous events in the BTJ annual programming, including the B’Town Jazz Fest, the Taste of Bloomington Jazz Stage, and the Future of JazzConcert. He also assisted in several successful grant-writing efforts for the organization. From 2014 to 2019, he served as the student jam session coordinator for the Jazz Education Network’s annual conference and is on the JENerations Jazz Festival Committee.
In the spring of 2016), he had the opportunity to perform extensively with Indianapolis jazz legend Frank Glover’s Quartet. Parker recorded two albums (and toured) with Indianapolis guitarist Charlie Ballantine entitled “Life Is Brief: The Music of Bob Dylan” (2018) and “Cold Coffee” (2019). In 2017, Parker recorded an album of his arrangements and original compositions with many of his mentors and colleagues. The resulting project entitled “Moving Forward Now” featured him on drums and tenor saxophone, and the musical contributions of Jamey Aebersold, Jeremy Allen, Rachel Caswell, Tom Clark, Rob Dixon, Luke Gillespie, Frank Glover, Pat Harbison, Steve Snyder, Dave Stryker, Craig Wagner, Jesse Wittman and Jay Tibbitts. Parker also works in artist relations and is a producer for Frankfort, IN based record label “Instru-Mental Records”.
Parker moved to New York City in the summer of 2018 to continue his career in music performance/education. He quickly began working regularly in the bands of Kevin Blancq, Joe Pino, Peter DiCarlo, Eric Siereveld and many others. While in NYC, he performed on saxophonist Peter DiCarlo’s debut album “Onward” which featured Jim Ridl, Rich Perry, and Scott Wendholt. With strong professional connections still in the Midwest, he was frequently invited back to perform and record. In 2019, he recorded on his mentor Frank Glover’s album: a third-stream work for string quartet, jazz quartet and percussion entitled “Mim” (2019). In 2019 and 2020, he performed with Chris Potter and Larry McKenna respectively (as well as served as a clinician/adjudicator) at the Indiana State University Jazz Festival.
He returned to Bloomington, IN in 2020 to complete his undergraduate studies at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and graduated in the Spring of 2022 with a BM in Jazz Studies. During his time back, he recorded on trumpeter Skyler Floe’s 2021 release “Abstraction” (featuring Greg Ward, Steve Allee, Sean Imboden, and Nick Tucker), guitarist Charlie Ballantine’s “Reflections/Introspection: The Music of Thelonious Monk”, as well as clarinetist/composer Frank Glover’s three most recent releases.