Maceo Parker


It’s impossible to keep the name of Maceo Parker separate from the funk genre of which by now he represents the essence. The American saxophonist, born in 1943, began to play when he was young and very soon his talent brought him to play with the major exponents of funk, like James Brown and Ray Charles.

Maceo, together with his brother Melvin, joined James Brown’s band in 1964 of which he became a key member. His solos became an integral part of Brown’s most famous tracks, such as “I Got You (I Feel You)”, “Mother Popcorn” e “Cold Sweat”.

In 1970 he founded Maceo & All the King’s Men alongside other members of Brown’s band with whom he embarked on a two-year-long tour.

In 1973 he was back playing with Brown and in the meantime, he published his first solo album Us (1974). The new collaboration with Brown ended in 1975 when he joined George Clinton’s projects which turned into the ensemble Parliament and Funkadelic.

In 1984 the fame of the ensembles started to diminish so Maceo decided once again to start playing with James Brown for the next four years. Anyway, he continued to frequently collaborate with Clinton and when Clinton produced Freaky Styley by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Parker participated with a few sax solos. Moreover, in 1988 he was invited by Keith Richards to perform on his solo debut album, Talk is Cheap.

The Nineties saw Parker establish his solo career. He released three consequent albums: Roots Revisited (1990), Mo’ Roots (1991), and the live set Life on Planet Groove (1992). The albums highlighted the excellent musicality of the artist, who was able to move between jazz and funk with skills fully admirable only live. Indeed, Maceo during this period performed more than 150 shows per year, spurred by the acclaim of the critics and the public.

In 1999 the iconic singer Prince enlisted Parker to collaborate on the singer’s album Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic. From this collaboration was born a regular partnership between the two artists during the following ten years, with Maceo joining Prince’s live band.

His brilliant career was immortalized by the documentary My First Name Is Maceo (2004) which showed exclusive interviews with Parker during which his career, his music, and his life were discussed.

He paid tribute to major artists like Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Isacc Hayes re-arranging classic songs from the R&B tradition in Soul Classic (2002), and 2018’s It’s All About Love In 2018 the funk genius arrived in Italy for an incredible concert for JAZZMI in Milan.





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