The MP Theory project began in 2011 when Parker, then 23, recorded his first album 'Prelude
' in New York. Since then Parker has toured extensively across Europe and the United States, often with his 'Trio Theory' featuring long-time collaborator Slawek Pezda on tenor sax and Kurt Elling Quartet veteran Frank Parker on drums. Beginning in November 2014 by completing a marathon tour of 27 concerts in 27 nights, MP Trio Theory continues to develop their unique and energetic sound playing over 400 concerts and festivals across 15 countries to date. Critics often note
the group's ability to successfully combine wide-ranging influences such as Charles Mingus, Radiohead, Maurice Ravel, The Bad Plus, Led Zeppelin, John Coltrane, David Bowie, and hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest just to name a few. In 2023 Parker continues to tour with 'Trio Theory', as well as the new 'Mike Parker Quartet'.
Mike grew up in and around New York City with a brother who introduced him to Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Ornette Coleman and a father who insisted he listen to Mozart operas and Mahler symphonies. His love for these very different musical styles, along with the hip-hop and pop music he heard all around him, formed the basis for his ecectlic composition and playing style. At age 14 he started playing the electric bass and by 17 his professional career began with funk and rock gigs in New York City clubs.
Mike attended Skidmore College where he studied Evolutionary Psychology and Music and spent a semester abroad studying Jazz Bass at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. At Skidmore, Mike performed in the school's classical and jazz ensembles and soon began playing professionally with the school's professors and the area's best jazz musicians. He studied with such notable bassists as Scott Colley, Reid Anderson, and Reubin Rogers and had the opportunity to perform with some of the world's greatest jazz musicians, including John Scofield, Chris Potter, Antonio Sanchez, and Eric Harland. Upon graduating with Highest Honors in 2010, Mike received the Joseph Garrison Parker Prize for excellence in both science and the arts.
After university, Mike traveled extensively around Europe before settling in Krakow, Poland where he discovered a young and vibrant jazz scene. In addition to winning 2 international jazz contests in 2012, he re-formed his 'Unified Theory' quintet with some of Poland's best young musicians. The group toured Central Europe in 2013 before recording 'Embrace the Wild
', which was then released in 2014 to critical acclaim
. Critics and audience-members alike have noted not only the wide-ranging musical inspirations heard in the music, but also the intensity and energy given to each composition's performance.
'Mike Parker's Trio Theory' was then formed in 2014. They have performed at festivals and clubs from the Netherlands to Poland and the Baltics to the Balkans, including Mondriaan Jazz Festival (NL), Krokus Jazz Festival (PL), Jazz Festival Praha, Jazz Goes To Town (CZ), X Jazz Festival (DE), MediaWave Festival (HU), Transilvania Jazz Festival (RO), Mailaul Festival (EE), and many more. In April '16 they released 'Alive Out There
', a live album recorded on their Fall '15 tour. In Fall '18 their latest studio album 'Shiny Objects, Dark Places
' was released.
Mike now calls Krakow home when he is not on tour. He has recently performed with such notable musicians as Marc Ducret, Marc Bernstein, Dominik Wania, Chris Weller, and Devin Gray among others. He performs on both upright and electric bass as a member of several touring groups including 'Nat Osborn Band', the acoustic 'Nat Osborn/Mike Parker Duo', his 'Trio Theory', and his newest project 'Mike Parker Quartet'.