Maceo Parker

  • 28 July 2006

This article is from 2006.

Maceo Parker made his name in the white-hot glare of The JB’s, the legendary backing band of soul giant James Brown. The band’s driving rhythm section and big, fat horn sound ignited the touchpaper on Brown’s frenetically funky soul sound for years, and the singer’s much-repeated exhortation ‘Maceo, blow your horn!’ was firmly enshrined in the on-off 26-year history of the saxophonist’s association with the Godfather of Soul.

That experience gave him what he called ‘the best seat in the house’ as the singer strutted his stuff and drove audiences into a frenzy. It’s a lesson he learned well, and refined in a spell with another master showman, George Clinton. He sees his own music as ‘2% jazz and 98% funk’, and aims to ensure that his audience feel like they are part of the show.

‘Funk is a feeling,’ he insisted, ‘and I don’t know if you can learn it, I think maybe you’ve gotta be born with it. What I like to do, and what I tell young musicians, is this: if it feels good, do it.’

(Kenny Mathieson)

Queen’s Hall (EIJF), 467 5200, 4 Aug, 10.30pm, £15.

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