John Parran

J.D. Parran

Adjunct Lecturer of Music
Music and Art



Office Hours:


J. D. Parran is an American multi-woodwind player, educator, and composer specializing in jazz and free improvised music. He plays the soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophone, as well as the E-flat clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, contra-alto clarinet, piccolo, alto flute, bamboo flute, Native American flute, bamboo saxophone, and nagaswaram.

Parran spent his college years in St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended Webster University and received an M.A. in music education from Washington University in St. Louis. While a university student, he joined the Black Artists’ Group with Hamiet Bluiett. He moved to New York City in 1971 and has served as chairman of the music department and the director of Jazz and African American Music Studies at The Harlem School of the Arts. He has taught at the City University of New York and Greenwich House Music School.

Parran has recorded with Stevie Wonder and John Lennon. For fifteen years he was a member of the experimental woodwind trio New Winds with Robert Dick and Ned Rothenberg, and is a member of Anthony Davis’s Episteme ensemble. He also performs and records with Anthony Braxton’s ensembles and has collaborated with Leroy Jenkins, Hamiet Bluiett, Douglas Ewart, John Lindberg, Peter Brötzmann, and the free improvisation group Company, which included Derek Bailey, Hugh Davies, Jamie Muir, Evan Parker, Vinko Globokar, and Joëlle Léandre.



Washington University in St. Louis
M.A. Music Education

Webster University

Courses Taught

Research and Projects


Honors, Awards and Affiliations


As leader

  • J. D. Parran & Spirit Stage (Y’All of New York, 1997)
  • Omegathorp: Living City (Y’All of New York, 2005)

As sideman

With Anthony Braxton

With Thomas Buckner

  • Full Spectrum Voice (Lovely Music, 1991)
  • Inner Journey (Lovely Music, 1998)

With Don Byron

  • Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz (Elektra Nonesuch, 1993)
  • You Are #6: More Music for Six Musicians (Blue Note, 2001)
  • Love, Peace, and Soul (Savoy, 2012)
  • Company, 1983 (Honest Jons 2020)
  • Company, Trios (Incus, 1986)

With Anthony Davis

  • Variations in Dream-Time (India Navigation, 1982)
  • Hemispheres (Gramavision, 1983)
  • Return from Space (Wonder Nonfiction) (Gramavision, 1985)
  • Undine (Gramavision, 1987)
  • Tania (Koch, 2001)
  • Notes from the Underground (BMOP/sound, 2014)

With Marty Ehrlich

  • The Long View (Enja, 2002)
  • A Trumpet in the Morning (New World, 2013)

With Julius Hemphill

  • Julius Hemphill Big Band (Elektra Musician, 1988)
  • One Atmosphere (Tzadik, 2003)

With others

Additional Information