Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tar Heel Nation 3: Maceo Parker

"Pass the Peas!" Maceo Parker (b. February 14, 1943, in Kinston, North Carolina), sax player and all-around cool musician, comes from a family of musicians -- including older brother Kellis Parker (trombone) and younger brother Melvin (drums). All three played in Kinston (Blue Notes, Junior Blue Notes, Mighty Blue Notes) and all three went on to college, the two younger brothers to North Carolina A & T (Agricultural and Technical) in Greensboro in 1961 and 1962 respectively and Kellis via the very first small wave of students to desegregate and begin integrating the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1960. (In case you were wondering, it took nearby Duke University until 1963 to desegregate -- so we're just fifty years on as of this posting).
The younger Parker brothers were hired by James Brown -- a whole story in its own right. 

I came to know about Maceo Parker through listening to James Brown & co. recordings -- records, cassette tapes, eventually CDs, whatever was at hand at the time, beginning in my later teens. Try like I did a long version of "Cold Sweat" (1967) and hear JB rapping in 1960s' style: "Put 'em where it's at now. . . Let 'em have it!  Blow your horn! Blow your horn, Maceo! . . . Get it!" The name Maceo stood out (Spanish-traced name for "gift of God") -- making me want to know more.   
This fall, Maceo Parker will be touring in countries like Argentina and the Czech Republic, but he can also be experienced live in Tar Heel Land. Where and when? Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where I saw my first formal jazz performance as a teen) on Friday, September 27, 2013, with George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. Here's a link formore details. From the promotional:

'It’s hard to tell which came first, Maceo Parker or the funk. Maceo got his start with James Brown, and for over 20 years he has been building a new funk empire, fresh and stylistically diverse. In his blistering solo career, he navigates deftly between Brown’s 1960s soul and George Clinton’s 1970s freaky funk, while also exploring mellow jazz and hip-hop.' 

Can you dig? If all else fails, you can get yourself a brand new bag.

Sources include:

Markus Gruber documentary, My First Name is Maceo (2003, 2004 DVD).

Maceo Parker, 98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music (Chicago Review Press, 2013), especially pages 41-53. 

Today's Rune: Breakthrough. 

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I'd probably enjoy seeing him. I know Lana would. She likes the Funk.