jazz drummer, pianist and composer Errol Parker, whose thick and highly
doggedly confirmed African connections in jazz, died at Cabrini Hospice in Manhattan on
He was 72 and lived in Manhattan.
The cause was liver cancer, said his daughter, the composer Elodie Lauten.
Parker was born Raphel Schecroun in Oran, Algeria, which was then French.
He fought in the French Army in World War II, and in Paris he studied sculpture
at the École des
A self-taught pianist, he played with Django Reinhardt while in Paris in
his mid-20's and later played
with James Moody, Don Byas and Kenny Clarke.
In 1964 he wrote the song "Lorre," a classical-jazz piece that became a
hit in France. He moved to
New York City in 1967 and started his own record label (Sahara Records), on which he issued
more than a dozen records. He finally switched to drums to realize his vision of a North African style
of jazz drumming, with minimal cymbals and a conga drum in place of snare. In 1983, he formed the
Errol Parker Tentet, one of the more innovative bands of the 1980's. He wrote a memoir published
by Cadence Books in 1995 and by Filipacchi in France the next year.
Parker died shortly after hearing his music performed by the Errol Parker
Tentet at St. Peter's
Church, at a benefit concert on Tuesday.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his sister, Janine Beisson,
of Gif-sur-Yvette, France.