Say the name Maceo Parker, and immediately the legendary R&B saxman's longterm association with the late, great James Brown comes to mind. Depending on how steeped one is in R&B, Parker's later work with George Clinton and Bootsy Collins might pop up. But long before the Godfather of Soul entered the saxman's life, Parker was grooving heavily onRay Charles, who became one of the influential musical heroes of his life. The first disc of Roots and Grooves gloriously celebrates Parker's connection to these roots, his early years in North Carolina listening to early Charles tracks on the radio. The second is something of a wildly jazzy, impossibly funky jam retrospective on his best solo tracks. The hook that makes this more than simply a high energy covers date is that it teams the brilliant altoist with Germany's renowned WDR Big Band— and from the first swinging blasts behind Parker's horn on "Hallelujah I Love Her So," "big" is the operative word. Given Parker's sense of groove invention and the evergreen emotional power of Charles' chestnuts like "Busted" and "Hit the Road Jack," anyone might have expected this to be a dream match. But it's more than that because Parker also sings with a gravelly, Charles-like perfection on these two songs, and even more poignantly on "You Don't Know Me," "Margie," and a magically moody "Georgia on My Mind." Charles may have been declared deceased in body in 2004, but he lives again through Parker in haunting yet wonderful ways. On "Getting Back to Funk" (the title of the second disc), Parker revisits his own rich catalog of classics, starting with "Uptown Up" and vibing right on through to a nearly 18-minute scorching take on "Pass the Peas." Released in 2007, this double set was an instant classic. Charles was not the only genius who loved company — Parker, too, has a blast working with one of the hippest big bands in the world.
All Music Guide
Quite simply, there is no better living showman than Maceo Parker. Catching one of the alto sax maestro's marathon three-hour shows is a truly transcendent experience for any fan of funk, jazz, hip-hop, R&B and soul: His performances are never disappointing, always worth the money, and a funky, funky good time.
|MACEO PARKER/School's In: Parker's most satisfying recorded funkfest since his groundbreaking "Live on Planet Groove", and no wonder, Candy Dulfer is back for the proceedings, propelling them like she did back then. Simply Parker back in top form, delivering the funk the way we like it delivered. Only dead people won't know there's a great party going on here. Hats off and welcome back to the high style Parker form.
-Midwest Record Recap
|Parker knows that the groove is the thing, and working the groove to death is his main goal, so being up to date, current, and innovative doesn't concern him very much, which is why School's In! sounds so wonderfully refreshing, and is arguably his most complete effort since 1992's Life on Planet Groove.... What you say isn't as important as what you do in the world of funk, and Maceo Parker has always known what to do. Thank God he's still doing it.
Parker talks with his sax, chatters away without a seeming care. It's a musical antidepressant, an antidote to dark days. ....firmed my belief that the world would be a better place if we all funked together.
-San Diego Reader
He's got the power to turn a small club into an inferno. That's the power of Maceo.
-Chris Nixon, SignOnSanDiego.com
The baddest alto sax in R&B/funk history is back! Parker, sax god in James Brown's great 1960s band, blows euphorically throughout with his sizzling, blues-rich tone. With terse horn riffs, punchy and rippling bass, snapping drums, chunky guitar, and BBQ-flavored Hammond organ, this is hard funk, boys and girls, of the kind Sly, Funkadelic, the Fatback Band, War, and Soul Bro #1 served up hot in the '70s. Get this! (BHM)
At the Soundless Dawn
|"-amazing...Parker has more stamina than
God...will bring out the sweatiest in you and even the bar-leaner
types generally have to be on horse Quaaludes to stand
|"First it was five years between visits,
then one, then six months then three months...pretty soon Maceo
Parker will have to start showing up in town every few weeks to
|"There's something kingly yet casual about
|"If anyone wasn't dancing at this show they
were either dead or outside having sex. Wow. I had never seen people
dance on the bar before, but I sure hope to see it again."
|"The performance of the week had to be
Maceo Parker's show...hipper than most 20 year olds he has more soul
in his little finger than a roomful of Boyz II Men."
|"The audience singing and swaying like
trees in a hurricane...Maceo is in the House...blowing a
|"Parker could make an investment banker do
the wild thing when he starts honking his funk-filled
-Twin Cities Reader/ Minn
|"Hurricane Maceo blew through, delivering a
multihour non-stop barrage for an audience that danced itself into a
frenzy before the second song was over."
|"Maceo Parker blows away the rest of the
|"Absolutely phenomenal! The crowd was on
its feet from start to finish! Wow, what a band!!"
-F.M. Malfitano, Syracuse, N.Y.
|"Garton's was packed to the gills with
people groovin' to the King of Funk."
|"This is the shit!"
-Jeff Levenson, Billboard
|"What we got was a non-stop dance groove
and one hell of a great party."
Offbeat (New Orleans)
|"His live shows leave me in a state of
sheer ecstasy stirred up by hours of dancing and amazement."
-Santa Cruz Good Times
|"I was told to pack our auditorium.
Students were dancing from the first note. Students say it was the
best concert ever at Haverford."
P. Littell, Haverford College
|"Maceo put on the funkiest (show) Dartmouth
has ever seen. Thank you."
|"The sold-out crowd (was) dancing
throughout the show. Maceo was the perfect closer."
-Jake Abraham, Northwestern University
|"Maceo Parker put on a monstrously funky
four-hour show, leaving the packed club sweat-drenched and
-Dave Gingold, Eugene (Or.)
|"I was dancing like a fool in the dirt 15
feet from the funkiest band in the universe."
-ZG, Aspen (CO.) Daily News
|Maceo Parker was picked the number one live show
of '95 by the Austin Chronicle.
|The Stewy Awards of Aspen picked Parker the no.
one and no. two live shows in '95.