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Maceo Parker

Maceo Parker - saxophone, composer, recording artist, bandleader

His name is synonymous with Funk Music, his pedigree impeccable; his band: the tightest little funk orchestra on earth. Maceo Parker is known by aficionados as a James Brown sideman; appreciated mainly by those in the know. More than a decade and a half later Maceo Parker has been enjoying a blistering solo career. He navigates deftly between ‘60's soul and ‘70's freaky funk while exploring mellower jazz and the grooves of hip-hop.

Maceo Parker was born and raised in Kinston, North Carolina. His uncle, who headed local band the Blue Notes, was Maceo’s first musical mentor. Maceo grew up admiring saxophonists such as David "Fathead" Newman, Hank Crawford, Cannonball Adderley and King Curtis."I was crazy about Ray Charles, his band, and particularly the horn players". The three Parker brothers formed the Junior Blue Notes. When Maceo reached the sixth grade, their uncle let the Junior Blue Notes perform in between sets at his nightclub engagements. It was his first experience of the stage that perhaps goes some way to explaining a love affair with performing that has increased rather than diminished with time.

In 1964, Maceo and his brother Melvin were in college in North Carolina studying music when a life-changing event took place. James Brown, happened on to an after hours club in which Melvin was drumming a gig. Brown hired the Parker brothers about a year later, and Maceo recollects that he and his brother thought they’d play with JB for about six months and then head back to school. Maceo laughs, “We stayed a lot longer than that.” To most musicologists it’s that fertile group of men who are recognized as the early pioneers of the modern funk. Maceo grew to become the lynch-pin of the James Brown enclave for the best part of two decades, his signature style helped define James' brand of funk, and the phrase: "Maceo, I want you to Blow," passed into the language. He’s one of the most sampled musicians around because of the unique quality of his sound.

There would be other projects and short hiatuses during his on-off time with The Godfather, including a brief spell overseas when he was drafted, and in 1970 when he left to form Maceo and All the Kings Men with some fellow James Brown band members.

In the mid '70's Maceo hooked up with Bootsy Collins and George Clinton, and the various incarnations of Funkadelic and Parliament. He now had worked with the figure heads of Funk music at the height of their success, from the breathtaking shows of James Brown to the landing of the Mothership; Maceo has been as close as it gets to some of the most exciting moments in musical history, contributing his sound as a constant point of reference.

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7
Album Review

Maceo Parker: Soul Food: Cooking With Maceo

Read "Soul Food: Cooking With Maceo" reviewed by Ian Patterson


After a trio of albums with the WDR Big Band, funk legend Maceo Parker returns to the more familiar, small ensemble terrain. It can be a challenge for any artist whose natural turf is the live arena to reproduce the same electricity in a studio setting--and for almost six decades Parker has been a road animal with James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic, Prince, and his own bands--but with Soul Food: Cooking With Maceo, the seventy-seven year old saxophonist comes pretty close. Like ...

396
Live Review

Maceo Parker in Denver

Read "Maceo Parker in Denver" reviewed by Geoff Anderson


Maceo Parker Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Denver March 12, 2010

Maceo Parker doesn't just play funk. He IS funk. He's one of the innovators, being there not just for its conception and birth, but for the child-rearing, shaping and development of the musical form. After extended stints with James Brown starting in the mid-60s, and later George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and Parliament/Funkadelic through the 70s, he's been leading his own band and touring extensively since ...

296
Album Review

Maceo Parker: Roots & Grooves

Read "Roots & Grooves" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins


There's something about the WDR Big Band of Cologne that when you see that name on a recording, you know you?re in for a treat. In recent years, this German-based ensemble has turned in some magnificent performances alongside some jazz heavyweights, including Randy Brecker and the late Joe Zawinul. Now the WDR Big Band has joined alto saxophonist and vocalist Maceo Parker for Roots & Grooves, a two-disc set recorded during a European tour in February and March 2007.

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Extended Analysis

Maceo Parker: Roots & Grooves

Read "Maceo Parker: Roots & Grooves" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


Maceo Parker Roots & Grooves Heads Up International 2007

In jazz, the term “swing" is used to describe that special “thing" that makes jazz jazz. Elusive to definition, swing may best be thought of as that physical propulsion providing the music momentum from one bar to the next. Or as critic Martin Williams wrote more poetically, “any two notes played in succession by (bassist) Paul Chambers." “Funk" is another word in ...

338
Album Review

Maceo Parker: School's In

Read "School's In" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins


Shakespeare was never so funky. “To Be or Not to Be, Maceo Parker's funky tribute to the playwright, is an attention-getting opener to School's In, a curriculum of funk education. And who better to do it than Parker? Over the course of his career, this alto saxophonist, percussionist, and vocalist worked with the Godfather of Soul in the 1960s and the masters of 1970s funk, George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, among others.Parker was born in Kinston, North Carolina. ...

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Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Soul Food: Cooking...

The Funk Garage
2020

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Soul Classics

Minor Music
2012

buy

Maceo Parker: Roots &...

Heads Up International
2008

buy

Roots & Grooves

Heads Up International
2008

buy

Roots & Grooves

Minor Music
2007

buy

For All the KIngs Men

Unknown label
2007

buy

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