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Maceo Parker Saves The Day

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Sunday April 30, 2017

From Best of New Orleans

Sunday at Jazz Fest
By: Will Coviello

Maceo Parker and his band took the slot in the jazz tent. Parker is known for anchoring the funk in the bands of James Brown and George Clinton as well as backing Prince at times. He mixed heavy funk with some jazz. Most of his stellar band’s members took long solos — long enough for everyone else to leave the stage. Parker leads the group through constant changes, picking up a few bars from a James Brown hit or one from Marvin Gaye, and then grooves off of that intro. Many in the tent got on their feet to dance at the slightest hint of a Brown song.

Parker often brings his cousin Darlene Parker on tour, and they play with “Stand By Me.” At the jazz tent, the bass player started it, exiting his solo with the beginning strains of the tune. While the song is generally sweet and earnest, the Parkers play with it. Darlene at times turns it into a sultry come-on, and at times belts out parts in a frighteningly deep, throaty voice. There’s even an interlude in which she scats while Maceo plays flute. It’s both funny and entertaining. But audiences came to hear Parker play funk, and he delivered, as on tunes like Brown’s “Gimme Some More.”

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