Al Parker’s Other Love

Al Parker maintained a lifelong love affair with jazz, first picking up the saxophone, then the clarinet and later the drums.  Prior to art school, Parker played on his grandfather’s riverboat in St. Louis with his jazz group —  which prompted his grandfather to pay for Parker’s first year’s tuition at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, Washington University.

“I was paying my way through art school by blowing a C-melody saxophone working the Mississippi riverboats, country clubs, college proms, Polish weddings and Dime-a-Dance halls…”   

Al Parker, quote from his ‘An Attic Trunk of Anecdotes’ 

mghl_parker autograph

Image of an autographed parchment jazz drum head. 

About the author

Andrea Degener is the Visual Materials Processing Archivist in the department of Special Collections at Washington University Libraries.