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Roots & Grooves

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Editors’ Notes

Paired with the WDR Big Band Cologne and captured live on tour in Europe in the winter of 2007, Maceo Parker spotlights the burning, soul-drenched saxophone that has made him a legend in R&B circles for more than 40 years. Though the repertoire here is quite comfortable — the first album is a tribute to Ray Charles, the second revisits staples from his funk career — Parker seems energized by the 14-horn-strong orchestra behind him. Though the Charles project stays close to the jazz format, more than a hint of funk creeps into the opening “Hallelujah I Love Her So.” There are swinging, high-stepping arrangements of “Them That’s Got,” with Parker on sax, and “Hit the Road Jack,” boasting Parker’s sly vocals, and he adds surprisingly effective (and curiously Charles-like) vocal readings of country classics “Busted” and “You Don’t Know Me,” which features a fervent alto turn by the leader. A sizzling version of “What’d I Say” caps the eight-song homage to his first musical idol. Bringing in a crack rhythm team of electric bassist Rodney “Skeet” Curtis and drummer Dennis Chambers for the funk collection, Parker shines on longtime favorites like “Uptown Up,” “Shake Everything You Got,” and the 17-minute “Pass the Peas.”

Customer Reviews

True Funk and Soul

Maceo yet again proves his value as a musician and a funk artist. He does Ray Charles only seconded by Ray himself. His singing evokes a soulful sensation rarely found in today's artists. And as always, Maceo's originals funk up the place. His sax playing is so heavily rhythmic, using original funk licks as opposed to stereotypical smooth jazz trash, he makes you move to the music. The WDR Big Band is fantastic: the ensemble sound is impeccable.

Very hot.

This is essentially two CD's. The first is an incredible combination of Maceo and the essense of Ray Charles. The second is a great mix of Maceo funk combined with essence of a large band. Unreal.


Thanks to iTunes I have been able to purchase all of Maceo's recordings and have never been disappointed. Parker has got to be one of the most underappreciated and underrated musicians of the past 50 years, and to think his contributions to music are limited to his time with James Brown is to do this guy a grave disservice. This live album is amazing. Maceo covers Ray Charles with an incredible big band and killer arrangements and also does his own stuff from a variety of his solo albums. Buy this!


Born: February 14, 1943 in Kinston, NC

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the key sonic architects of funk, Maceo Parker first became a legend for his work with James Brown, whose impassioned shouts for a sax solo ("Maceo! Blow your horn!") would make Parker the Godfather of Soul's most famous sideman, though Parker would continue to enjoy a successful career long after leaving Brown's employ. Maceo Parker was born on February 14, 1943 in Kinston, North Carolina. Parker's mother and father both had an appreciation for music and sang in their church's choir, but...
Full Bio
Roots & Grooves, Maceo Parker
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  • $15.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Feb 12, 2008

Customer Ratings