Jacy Parker is a pert pianist from Chicago who, although in her mid-20s, demonstrates ability and jazz sense well beyond her years. But that is because her range of experience is wide and her term of apprenticeship has been long and rewarding.
Jacy (that’s short for Jaqueline Corinne) first studied piano with Marjorie Hyams, who played vibes with Woody Herman’s First Herd and was succeeded by Red Norvo in that wailing band, and who later played vibes with George Shearing’s Quintet. These early studies included technique and theory. Later Jacy attended the American Conservatory in Chicago, where she studied harmony and theory.
“I started playing piano when I was five,” she grinned. “But I started working as a pianist when I was 17. I had a trio in Chicago, and I began to listen to George Shearing’s music. At the start, I was playing his things and playing like him.”
In 1954, she came to...