James Brown's sax man at The Newt
Maceo Parker, Aug. 10
NEWTON — While most sax players have followed in the footsteps of jazz legends like Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, Maceo Parker has consistently marched to a different tune. It was Parker’s recurring stints in James Brown’s band that not only produced some of the most enduring entries in the vast canon of American soul music, but also sowed the seeds of the funk revolution of the 1970s. Parker joined Brown’s band in 1964 and the sax player quickly established himself as a valuable member of the team. The first sides he cut with Brown, “I Feel Good” and “Out of Sight,” became some of the most famous of Brown’s canon. Parker's collaborations over the years have included Ray Charles, Ani Difranco, James Taylor, De La Soul, Dave Matthews Band and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Some of Parker’s more recent solo projects include Funk Overload, 1998, Made By Maceo (2003) and School’s In (2005). He joined the Heads Up International label with the 2008 release of Roots & Grooves, a two-disc set that positions him front and center with Germany’s WDR Big Band, arguably the hottest jazz orchestra on the European continent. Roots & Grooves is equal parts Ray Charles tribute and a showcase for some of Parker’s own classic material.
Without question, Parker’s body of work over the past four decades stands on its own merits, yet he sees the music as part of an even greater message. “At all my concerts, I try to say ‘love’ as many times as I can,” he says. “I think if we all use that word as much as we possibly can, the idea will flourish, and all that other negative stuff will diminish. So I’m definitely going to do what I think is my part by just showing the spirit of love throughout the word as much as I can.”
Maceo Parker appears at The Newton Theatre on Friday, August 10, 2018. Tickets start at just $34 and can be purchased at The Newton Theatre box office at 219 Spring Street in Newton, NJ; online at www.TheNewtonTheatre.com; or by calling 973-940-NEWT.