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Maceo Parker: 50 Years of Funk

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Monday January 04, 2016

From Montgomery County Living

50 Years of Funk
By: Jack Firneno

Maceo Parker’s played with the best — and best-dressed — of them. He’s the sax player James Brown was talking to when he first yelled “Blow, Maceo!” in 1965 on the song “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” It was a call was later heard on dozens of other tracks as Parker became Brown’s right-hand man.

When he left that group in 1974, Parker jumped on the Mothership to lend his punchy, percussive playing to a handful of seminal Parliament-Funkadelic albums over the next decade. Later, his signature sax could be heard on albums by everyone from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Prince.

For the past quarter-century, Parker’s been his own bandleader, in charge of what’s often dubbed “The Greatest Little Funk Orchestra on Earth.” He delivers infectious grooves and sweaty solos on records and in person, still playing around 100 shows a year worldwide, even at 72 years old. His formula, as he’s explained it for years, is as simple as it is effective: “2 percent jazz, 98 percent funky stuff.”

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