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Bradley Parker-Sparrow

a life of music….press 1980-2016

"Days, the CD is their best work, a wonderful, stirring, provocative gathering of 11 original songs"
Rick Kogan-The Chicago Tribune-2013

''They have established themselves among the city's grassroots cultural supporters"
Neil Tesser-The New York Times-2010

"Hypnotically melancholic...Debussy on barbiturates"
Bryan Manning-Time Out Chicago-2009

"The Black Romantic is easily one of the most compelling releases in his catalog"

Photo credit (Marc PoKempner)

"A Solo hybrid of jazz and classical music" (The Black Romantic-Piano Solo)
Greg Kot-The Chicago Tribune-2009

"A musical fixture on the Chicago scene"
Bill Campbell-ABC-7 "Chicagoing"-2005

"…that's a little more "out there," as we used to say… it's a remarkable piece of work, though… from bradley parker-sparrow, one of the great songwriters and performers in town.”
Rick Kogan of WGN Radio-AM-720

"The Light"... one of the most innovative compositions to come along in a long while." 
Lee Prosser-Jazz

"The Light"'s food for thought...Sparrow opens doors everywhere..."
Jim Santella-All About

"Pianist, composer, poet and producer…"
Neil Tesser-The Chicago Reader-2004

"Florid romantic pieces rumbled mightily..."
Kevin Whitehead-The Chicago Sun-Times-2004

"A multi-tasking pro"
Andy Argyrakis-The Chicago Tribune-2003

"A Classic"Lee Prosser-Jazz CD Review-2002  (We Are Not Machines-CD and Soundtrack)

Hillarie S. Grey-JazzTimes-2002  (We Are Not Machines-CD and Soundtrack)

"Avant-garde contemporary art"
SAK-Film Score Monthly -2002 (We Are Not Machines-CD and Soundtrack)

"Someone you should know"
Harry Porterfield-ABC-TV-2000

"Super autodidactic"
Achy Obejas-The Chicago Tribune-1996 (Waiting For The Man-Film Score)

“On 'Solo,' Sparrow ranges from austere elegance to nearly florid romanticism...  elegiac and affecting…”
Martin Johnson - DownBeat (Solo Sparrow CD) - July 1996 *** 3 stars


"Sparrow is one of Chicago's originals, he does not follow the fashion of the day, but his own north star."
Studs Terkel-WFMT-1995 ( Solo Sparrow CD)

"Sparrow battles corporate control of music with a mix of jazz, classical and opera"
David Witter-New City 1992

"Raised on the city's South Side (Chicago) he began banging on the piano at age 7, in exchange for running errands for a disabled woman who lived down the street."
Hugh Hart-The Chicago Tribune 1991


"Ambitiously undertaken and well performed musical work"
Tom Nuccio-The Illinois Entertainer-1992 (The Desert Rat Suite-CD)

"Intriguing and beguiling...the unity of the piece holds ones interest"
Jack Fuller-The Chicago Tribune-1991 (The Desert Rat Suite-CD)

"A pragmatic visionary"
June Sawyers-The Chicago Tribune-1991

"A sprawling ambitious piece of future shock"Lloyd Sachs-The Chicago Sun-Times-1991 (The Desert Rat-CD)

SPARROW a life of music….

Bradley Parker-Sparrow
Composer/Pianist/Recording Engineer                       
3501 N. Southport
Chicago, Illinois 60657-1435
773-281-8510 (office)
773-472-1632 (fax)


  • Pianist, composer, recording engineer, record producer, writer, real estate company owner/partner and general contractor/construction.

  • Partner in Sparrow Sound Design Recording Studio, Southport Records, Northport Records and   Real Buildings Real Estate and Construction Company.

  • Born in Chicago in 1954, self taught in all disciplines.

  • As a pianist/composer, held the position of composer-in-residence for The City of Chicago in 1979 and 1980. 

  • Founded Sparrow Sound Design Recording Studio and Production Facility in 1977.

  • As an engineer and/or producer, recorded over 250 album projects including:  The Leaders, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Von Freeman, George Freeman, Chico Freeman, Little Milton, Yusef Lateef, Willie Pickens, Bob Dorough, Big Moose Walker, Richie Cole, The Mighty Blue Kings, Tatsu Aoki, Malachi Favors, Francis Wong, Erwin Helfer, Don Moye, Bobby Lewis, Howard Levy, Fareed Haque, Geoffrey Douglas Madge, George Flynn, Johnny Frigo, Joe Vito, Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell and King Fleming.

As a partner of the Chicago based SOUTHPORT Records, Sparrow has produced 144 album projects that exist within the label catalog.  His first release as a leader is "Sparrow - LATIN BLACK" from 1979.

As a pianist-composer Sparrow's compositions appear on his own recordings (Latin Black (LP 1979), AM/FM (NEON LP 1982), Inside/Out (Cassette Release 1991), The Desert Rat Suite (1991), Solo Sparrow (1995), If It Wasn’t For Paul (with Tatsu Aoki – 1995), FIRE with Von Freeman (1996), We Are Not Machines (2001), Canned Beer (2003), The Light, a tone poem (2004), Shut Eye (2006), The New World (Asian Improv 2009), The Black Romantic (2009), Days with Joanie & Sparrow (2013) and over 20 CDs for other artists.  He has scored 5 feature length films, various documentaries and composed ballets for Joseph Holmes, MoMing and The Chicago Dance Medium.  Performances include The Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago Fest, Taste of Chicago, The Bop Shop, The Green Mill, The Asian American Jazz Festival in San Francisco, Duke University, Columbia College, The Jazz Showcase, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Katerina's Jazz Club and The Iridium Jazz Club in New York City (2012), The Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall, numerous concerts from 1979-2012, including "Chicago Piano Forms."  In 2015 Sparrow  presented the original musical "Amusical" at Davenports Cabaret with Joanie Pallatto.

As a writer Sparrow's articles and reviews have appeared in DownBeat, CD Review, Film Score Monthly and JazzTimes.  He has written 3 full length plays, 2 screenplays and lyrics for over 100 songs.

His one act play "The Silence" was performed and premiered at Navy Pier in 1985.  His three act play "The Bar" received a full reading at Victory Gardens Theatre.

In the area of building construction Sparrow was general contractor and carpenter in the building of the new Sparrow Sound Design recording complex in 1983.  All 7 units in the turn of the century building were restored and physically corrected to code (in Lakeview, Chicago).  Most recently the restoration of a late Victorian 2-flat was completed by his company, REAL BUILDINGS.

As an educator Sparrow has taught music for The Chicago Council on Fine Arts (preschool), at Robert Taylor Homes and Abla.  He was part of The Urban Gateways in school program for several years.  Sparrow was the general manager of the Theatre/Music Division at Columbia College, and also taught Orchestration and led the Columbia Performance Ensemble.  Sparrow has lectured at The School Of The Art Institute and Duke University, for the NEA.

SPARROW composition, performance & production
"The modern artist sees no difference between the construction of a song or the construction of a building.  Intellectual labor co-exists with physical labor.  There is poetry in the formation of art and the formation of room design.  Sweat is a part of art, and art needs physical tension.  The modern artist must be diverse in order to exist in the modern corporate world." – Bradley Parker-Sparrow


2012- "The Last Cabrini" (a Southport Film ©2012)  A cinema tonepoem with Rick Kogan (narrator) and Joanie Pallatto, voice.  Shot, directed, edited and composed by Sparrow.

Bradley Parker-Sparrow - The Last Cabrini
The Last Cabrini ~ Image Sonata #1 ~ Documentary Short Film

Bradley Parker-Sparrow ~ Composer-Pianist-Poet-Filmmaker
Rick Kogan ~ Narrator
Joanie Pallatto ~ Vocals, Flute and Percussion


The Last Cabrini interprets the failure of a low income housing experiment in an urban high rise environment in Chicago, Illinois.  The Image Sonata is an extension of the music, photography and poetry of pianist and composer Bradley Parker-Sparrow.  For the last 25 years Sparrow has worked in the realm of sound.  In his early 20's, both photography and film were the main focus of his life art.  Poetry and fiction were added later with musical compositions taking focus after image and word.

With the advances in video and computer equipment, and the blending of both technologies it becomes clear that image must exist with music.  Sparrow has also composed several film scores for both feature and documentary films.  The composer must comply with the desires of the filmmaker.  If the composer is the filmmaker, he becomes one with himself.  There is no conflict between image, words, poetry and music.

A Southport Film
b. p. Sparrow, Director



  • 1977 The City Of Chicago, Chicago Council On Fine Arts - 3 Ballets, Navy Pier The City Of Chicago Dance Ensemble-"Duet For 2 Bassoons," "String Quartet #1"-Solo Piano

  • 1978 MoMing - 2 Ballets for Jackie Radis

  • 1979- Lois Royne-Jackie Radis - "Love & Hate" World Premiere, MoMing

  • 1980- The City Of Chicago, Chicago Council On Fine Arts "Strange Food And Orchestras" A Ballet and Fantasy Drama, World Premiere.

  • 1980-The Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre - "Ballet For Small Ensemble" World Premiere

          Joseph Holmes, choreographer.

  • 1981- MoMing-Jackie Radis, Dance and Piano Duos

  • 1984- The Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre "Options" World Premiere

          Joseph Holmes, choreographer.

  • 1994-The Chicago Dance Medium "Buildings," A Children's Ballet

         Rosemary Doolas, choreographer

  • 1999-The Chicago Dance Medium "Life," A Ballet, Rosemary Doolas, choreographer

  • 2002-The Chicago Dance Medium "Street Ballet", Rosemary Doolas, Choreographer


  • 1991-"The Blind Lead," John Covert-director (Feature Film Score).

  • 1994-  "Peoria Babylon," Steve Diller-director, starring Ann Cusack (Feature Film Score).

  • 1995-  "Waiting For The Man," John Covert-director (Feature Film Score).

  • 1996-  "In The Shadow Of Memory," Jacky Comforty-director (WW II documentary of Lidice, Czechoslovakia)

  • 1996- "There Are No Sharks On The Desert," Michael Hess-director (Film Short)

  • 2001- "Watch," John Covert-director (Feature Film)

  • 2004- "The Gift" Estlin Feigley-director (Feature Film)

  • 2004- "The Blank Page" John Covert-director (Feature Film)

  • 2005- "Shut Eye"  John Covert-director (Feature Film)

  • 2008- "A Magical Vision" Michael Caplan-director (Feature Film Score)

  • 2015-  "Algren" Michael Caplan-director (Song in Feature Film from “FIRE with Von Freeman” – Southport Records)


  • 1976-  Truman College, One Act Play "Alone" (also wrote script)

  • 1977-  Navy Pier, "The Silence," starring Clarenda Johnson & Joanie Pallatto

  • 1980-  Victory Gardens Theater, "The Bar" (also wrote script).

  • 1993-  Mary Archie Theater Co. "Screwtape" (composer of music)

  • 1995-  "Amusical", full length musical (also wrote book and script).


  • 1979- "Latin Black" - Sparrow (LP)

  • 1982- "Sparrow AM/FM" - Sparrow (LP)

  • 1983- "Randy's Blues" - Randall Murray (LP; producer, pianist-composer-photographer)

  • 1986- "Whisper Not" - Joanie Pallatto (LP; producer, pianist-composer)

  • 1991- "Inside Out" - Sparrow Shortwave (CASSETTE)

  • 1991- "The Desert Rat Suite" - Sparrow Shortwave (CD)

  • 1992- "Today!" - Eden Atwood (CD; producer, pianist-composer)

  • 1994- "Who Wrote This Song?" - Joanie Pallatto (CD; producer, pianist-composer)

  • 1994- "Brazilian Heart" - April Aloisio (CD; producer, pianist-composer-photographer)

  • 1994- "Kioto" - Tatsu Aoki (CD; engineer)

  • 1995- "If It Wasn't For Paul" - Tatsu Aoki & Sparrow (CD; pianist-composer)

  • 1995- "Solo Sparrow" - Bradley Parker-Sparrow (CD)

  • 1995- "Passing Tones" - Joanie Pallatto (CD; producer, pianist-composer-photographer)

  • 1996- "Urban Reception" (CD; producer, engineer, photographer)

  • 1996- "Fire with Von Freeman" - Von Freeman, Tatsu, Mike Raynor, Sparrow (CD; pianist-composer)

  • 1996- "We Belong Together" - Linda Tate, vocals (CD; producer, pianist-composer)

  • 1996-  "Afrikan Song"  - With Don Moye and Sun Percussion (producer-engineer For AECO)

  • 1996-  "Footprints" - April Aloisio, vocals (CD; producer, pianist-composer)

  • 2001-  "We Are Not Machines" (Film Score:  "Watch," a John Covert Film; Producer-engineer-pianist-synth and programming, with Joanie Pallatto, vocalist)

  • 2002- "Canned Beer" engineer-pianist-Synth and programming, with Joanie Pallatto.

  • 2004- "The Light" engineer-pianist-synth and programming, with Joanie Pallatto,

           Eric Noden, Eldee Young and Mike Raynor.

  • 2005- "Shut Eye"  Soundtrack to the John Covert Film, with Joanie Pallatto

           and Bobby Lewis.

  • 2008- "It's Not Easy" Joanie Pallatto, pianist/composer/eningeer and producer.

  • 2009- "The Black Romantic"  Solo piano

  • 2009- "The New World" Asian Improv Records with Francis Wong, Tatsu Aoki,

           Joanie Pallatto and Dede Sampaio

  • 2011- "As You Spend Your Life" Joanie Pallatto, pianist/composer/eningeer and producer.

  • 2013- "Days With Joanie and Sparrow"  Original compositions for ensemble.

  • 2015- "Two Again" with Joanie Pallatto and Marshall Vente, producer and engineer.

  • 2015- "All In The Family"  with George Freeman and Chico Freeman, producer and engineer.


  • 1977-2016 ~ Our CD labels of Southport & Northport have been very active in the last 35 years, with over 144 CDs released as of the summer of 2015.

  • 1977-2015 ~ As a recording engineer and record producer recording for international labels that include:  Steeplechase, Concord, Universal, Flying Fish, Delmark, The Sirens, DIW, Asian Improv, Okka Disc and AECO (The Art Ensemble Of Chicago).

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