Dion Parson is one of New York's finest young drummers. Born in 1967 in St. Thomas,
Parson's musical foundation includes classical, reggae, calypso, jazz, African, and pop
Parson's first musical instrument was the trombone, but at the age of 15, he began playing
drums and was awarded a grant from Virgin Islands Council on the Arts to study at the
Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. Parson later attended Rutgers University, where he
studied percussion with Keith Copeland and William Moersch. In 1994, he began studying with
master drummer Michael Carvin-a relationship he maintained for 14 years.
After graduation, Parson moved to New York, where he quickly became part of the jazz
scene, performing with such greats as the late Milt Jackson, Monty Alexander, Steve
Grossman, Gary Bartz, Terence Blanchard, Geri Allen, Donald Harrison, Don Byron, David
Sanchez, Ray Anderson, Stephen Scott, Marc Cary, Lee Konitz, Ernest Ranglin, Ron Blake,
Terell Stafford, Cyrus Chestnut, Wycliffe Gordon, Babatunde Olatunji, Baaba Maal, Joanne
Brackeen, Dianne Reeves, Bill Salter, Bill Saxton, and Steve Turre. His association with
these musicians has taken him well beyond US borders on tours to such places as Japan,
Europe, Canada, the West Indies, Africa, and the Middle East.
Parson's recording experience and close association with fellow St. Thomas native Ron
Blake led to the birth of Tahmun Records, which housed his first recordings as a leader,
21st Century (co-led with Blake), and his first solo effort, 2001's People
Always interested in giving back, coupled with his desire to ensure a continuous crop of
talented musicians, Parson began his teaching career at Rutgers University in 1992 as an
adjunct professor. In 2007, Parson became Creative Director of the new international music
organization United Jazz International, founded by Branford Marsalis and Steve Coleman.