Ben Parker likes to play long, improvised, a-little-bit-out-there fun stuff. His words, not mine.

“I love to just jam,” said the 17-year-old C.E. Byrd High School senior. “I’m really into the jam band scene because every time you see them play it’s going to be a little bit different.”

Parker said he gets his love of music from his dad who played bass in Cajun Dixon Line. He’s been playing since he was in the sixth grade but really came into his own during high school.

He notes The Grateful Dead, Phish and Widespread Panic as a few of his musical favorites, and although he primarily plays cover songs, he’s been writing a few of his own. He actually debuted one during the recent Centaur Parade — in the pouring rain.

“It was miserable, but the fun kind of miserable,” he said laughing. “We played for three hours straight.” Parker plans to pursue music studies at University of New Orleans in the fall and will continue playing through college. He’s currently in the Talented Arts Program and jazz band.

“I want to be able to play gigs and make a living do that,” he said. “I want to try and write original music. That’s what I’m hoping for, at least.”

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