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Maceo Parker Delivers His Own Funk

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Sunday January 08, 2012

Maceo Parker steps away from the legends, delivers his own funk
by Rich Freedman

He’s played with James Brown. With Prince. And George Clinton. Opened for Ray Charles.

Legends, sure. But Maceo Parker isn’t about to change for anyone. He’s not stubborn. He just knows his talent. And when it comes to playing, his website perhaps says it best: Parker’s the funkiest saxophonist on the planet.

“Wherever I go, what I bring is what I bring,” Parker said. “I am who I am and play what I play. Anybody who’s heard me knows. Wherever I go, I take Maceo with me. My style is no different wherever I go.”

Parker, a 58-year-old Valentine’s Day baby, brings his funk to the wine country on Tuesday with an 8 p.m. concert at the Napa Valley Opera House. After a pit-stop the next night at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, it’s off to Hawaii and France.

His horn has taken him around the world and Parker is grateful. And he’s grateful he has had a big hand in his own destiny, relying on hard work and staying true to himself.

It goes back to college at A&T Greensboro when he heard an instructor talking to another student, “Well, you know you’re not going to get the job unless I recommend you.”

Parker kept thinking about that. And he didn’t want one man’s recommendation determine his future.

“I didn’t want to stand on the sidelines until someone points a finger,” Parker said. “I just wanted to play, travel and see the world and take music to the people.”

And that is what he’s done.

“I had no idea it would turn out the way it is,”

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