William Parker (b. 1925, Bronx, New York) is a musician, composer, writer, and educator. He studied bass with Richard Davis, Art Davis, Milt Hinton, Jimmy Garrison, and Wilber Ware.

He has recorded 40 albums as a leader featuring his music and concepts, covering a wide range of ensembles from solo bass, quartets, and sextets. They include The 17-piece Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra and special projects like The Essence Of Ellington and The Inside Songs Of Curtis Mayfield. Parker has composed music for The Wroclaw Symphony Orchestra and hundreds of pieces of vocal music. All of this music incorporates his concept of Universal Tonality. They all include improvisational languages and possibilities.

He has taught workshops and done residencies at NYU, Bennington College, Stanford University, and The New School and has been on the New York and European creative music scene since 1972. Outside of his work, he has toured and recorded with Maxine Sullivan, Jeanne Lee, Cecil Taylor, Milford Graves, Don Cherry, Bill Dixon, Peter Brotzmann, Derek Bailey, John Zorn, Rashied Ali, Charles Gayle, Jimmy Lyons, Billy Bang, Roy Campbell Jr., Daniel Carter, Cooper Moore, David S. Ware, Sonny Murray, Jemeel Moondoc, Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Oliver Lake, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Enrico Rava, Grachan Moncur III, and the Art Ensemble Of Chicago. He has also worked with poets Amiri Baraka, Allen Ginsburg, Miguel Pinero, Fred Moten, and Anne Waldman.

Having written music for many dance productions and collaborated with choreographer Patricia Nicholson, Parker has developed a reputation as a connector and hub of information concerning the history of creative music. He has had seven books covering philosophy, poetry, and the history of creative music and improvisation including Who Own’s Music, Music and the Shadow people, Scrapbook, The Mayor Of Punkville, and Conversations: Volume 1-3. In 2021 he released a 10 CD box set, The Music of William Parker Migration Of Silence Into and Out Of The Tone World on Centering Music. Duke University Press published his bio Universal Tonality, written by Cisco Bradley.

Parker's latest release Universal Tonality was released in the fall of 2022. His Tone Poem Music And The Shadow People was performed in Toronto in January 2022 with musicians and actors, and in February 2022, Trial Of Tears a Continuum 1492-2022 was performed at the Sons DiHiver Festival in Paris.