Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Doin' It to Birth: Maceo Parker 75

Happy Valentine's Day! Let's continue the Black History Month mayhem with a milestone birthday of a most beloved instrumentalist, near and dear to our hearts.
He was born this day in 1943 and since the mid-1960s, when he emerged as the central member of James Brown's band not named James Brown, he has blazed a trail across some of the most revered music of our lifetimes.
It's impossible to overstate the importance of this person to Funky music, first off. First with JB, then with George Clinton and P-Funk, then branching off with Bootsy's Rubber Band, interspersed with so many solo recordings and band projects he has led, there just isn't anyone you could name with a more stellar pedigree in sound.
I mean, let's face it. When it was time to take it to the bridge, James Brown didn't yell for his mama. He didn't call out for Danny Ray and the cape. He didn't plead for the drummers to save him.
He called for one man -- by one name -- in those days: Maceo.
Yes, today is birthday #75 of Maceo Parker, surely one of the most significant and prolific alto saxophonists in human history.
It's not possible to exaggerate his integral relationship to the music of our epoch, so I won't try. Best to cut the chatter and spin the platter, and jump right on to today's share.
This hour of towering power dates from Maceo's 1991 Roots Revisited project and features all his legendary JB Horns cohorts like Fred Wesley and Pee Wee Ellis. It was filmed in Germany as part of a very famous Jazz festival that takes place there every year at Easter time.
Maceo Parker & Roots Revisited
Stuttgart, Germany
probably 3.30.1991

01 Up 'N Down East Street
02 Southwick
03 Inarticulate Speech of the Heart
04 Peace Fugue
05 Cold Sweat
06 Everywhere Is Out of Town
07 Doin' It to Death

Total time: 59:04

Maceo Parker - alto saxophone
Pee Wee Ellis - tenor saxophone
Fred Wesley - trombone
Ronald Muldrow - guitar
Larry Goldings - organ
Jimmy Madison - drums

720p AVI file of a master VHS tape of a 1991 RFM-TV satellite broadcast
This is a stampeding 60 minutes of elegant Funk and Soul power, and is sort of undercirculated so it will be good to get it going around.
Of course I will return shortly with more tributes to the maximally awesome musicians of African extraction here in February -- hey, that's five posts in two weeks, not bad! -- but for now it's all about a fantastic b'day wish for the amazing Maceo Parker, still passing the peas after all these yeez!--J.

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