Horace Parlan (January 19, 1931 – February 23, 2017) was an American pianist and composer known for working in the hard bop and post-bop styles of jazz. In addition to his work as a bandleader Parlan was known for his contributions to the Charles Mingus recordings Mingus Ah Um and Blues & Roots.
He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. In his birth year, Parlan was stricken with polio, resulting in the partial crippling of his right hand. The handicap contributed to his development of a particularly “pungent” left-hand chord voicing style, while comping with highly rhythmic phrases with the right.
Between 1952 and 1957, he worked in Washington D.C. with Sonny Stitt, then spent two years with Mingus’ Jazz Workshop. In 1973, Parlan moved to Copenhagen, Denmark. He later settled in the small village of Rude in southern Zealand. In 1974, he completed a State Department tour of Africa with Hal Singer. His later work, such as a series of duos with the tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp included the album Goin’ Home (1977), steeped in gospel music.