Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

338

Maceo Parker: School's In

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
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. His uncle, who headed a local band called the Blue Notes, was Parker's first musical mentor. Parker and two brothers then formed the Junior Blue Notes. That ensemble, performing some nightclub engagements, led James Brown to discover Parker and his brother, Melvin. Brown was so impressed by Melvin's drumming that he promised to give him a job, if the drummer refreshed his memory. Melvin did, and Brown hired the brothers. "Maceo, I want you to blow! became a staple of Brown's performances. Parker later worked with Clinton, Collins, and their various incarnations of Parliament and Funkadelic. In addition to his solo career, Parker has collaborated with such artists as Ray Charles, James Taylor, De La Soul, the Dave Matthews Band, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Parker is now a master of jazz-funk education. Complemented by the dynamic electric bass of Rodney "Skeet Curtis and a slick horn section, the saxman delivers a playful album of eight original songs, plus covers of "ABC and "What a Wonderful World. Vocalist Corey T. Parker joins the ensemble for "What You Know About Funk? With the leader's sax and the horn section adding exclamation points at the appropriate times, he raps, "If hip-hop were a tree, funk would be at its roots, and later says, "When you run up on this unit that care about the music and not the fame, who you gonna blame?

Tracks like "ABC and "To Be or Not to Be do have some light vocals, but the real lesson on these songs is the instrumental portion, led by Parker's sax. "ABC runs a little over eight minutes, giving him plenty of time to break down the lesson. If that is general study, "Speed Reading (It-si-bi-ya) is a pop quiz. The band really smokes—not in the boys' room—on this track. The song shifts gears at about the 3:40 mark, where the music slows and Parker utters, "School's out. Then, seconds later, he says, "The bell rang; school's back in, and the band kicks into overdrive. "Arts & Crafts is the jazziest track on the album. Featuring a solo by trombonist Greg Boyer, it's a moderately paced lesson on creativity.

In the liner notes, funky is defined as coming "from 'funk,' meaning happy music. That's what School's In is all about. A little bit of education about how funk—particularly how the bass was played—influenced today's hip-hop, but taught in a delightful manner. Indeed, Parker and his band make learning fun.


Track Listing: To Be or Not to Be; Basic Funk: 101; What You Know About Funk?; ABC; Song for My Teacher; Speed Reading (It-si-hi-ya); What a Wonderful World; Arts & Crafts; Advanced Funk; I

Personnel: Maceo Parker: alto saxophone, vocals, percussion; Ron Tooley: trumpet; Greg Boyer: trombone; Morris Hayes: Hammond organ, keyboards; Bruno Speight: guitar; Rodney

Title: School's In | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: BHM Productions

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Double Down" CD/LP/Track Review Double Down
by James Nadal
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "In the Still of the Night" CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Song of the Silver Geese" CD/LP/Track Review Song of the Silver Geese
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Mist. Moss. Home." CD/LP/Track Review Mist. Moss. Home.
by Jim Olin
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Morphogenesis" CD/LP/Track Review Morphogenesis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 13, 2017