Maceo Parker - Roots and Grooves
Written by Edward F. Nesta   

Maceo Parker - Roots & GroovesLegendary saxophonist Maceo Parker finds the fountain of youth on the special two-CD release, Maceo Parker Roots & Grooves, with the first half a Tribute to Ray Charles, and the second half digging into Maceo's own library and Back to Funk.


Maceo Parker - Roots & Grooves        

Maceo Parker Roots & Grooves                                                 

Roots & Grooves: CD 1 (Tribute to Ray Charles) - Hallelujah I Love her So, Busted, Them That's Got, You Don't Know Me, Hit The Road Jack, Margie, Georgia on My Mind, What'd I Say   

CD 2 (Back to Funk) - Uptown Up, To Be Or Not To Be, Off The Hook, Advanced Funk, Shake Everything You Got, Pass The Peas        

Personnel: Maceo Parker: Alto Saxophone, Vocals; Dennis Chambers: Drums (CD-2); Rodney "Skeet" Curtis: Electric Bass (CD-2); Frank Chastenier: Hammond B3, Fender Rhodes, Acoustic Piano, Clavinet; Paul Shigihara: Guitar; John Marshall: Trumpet; Heiner Wiberny: Alto Saxophone; Paul Heller: Tenor Saxophone; Klaus Osterlon: Trumpet; Olivier Peters: Tenor Saxophone, EWI; Bernt Laukamp: Trombone;  Andy Haderer: Trumpet; Karolina Strassmayer: Alto Saxophone; Michael  Abene: Conductor; John Goldsby: Acoustic Bass (CD-1); Hans Dekker: Drums (CD-1); Wim Both: Trumpet; Rob Bruynen: Trumpet; Ludwig Nuss: Trumpet; Dave Horler: Trombone; Mattis Cederberg: Bass Trombone; Marcus Barthelt: Baritone Saxophone    

Roots & Grooves was recorded live during a European Tour in February and March 2007 and was released under the Heads Up label. This is saxophone legend Maceo Parker's first release with Heads Up, but continues a career that spans 5 decades starting with a time playing in the 60's with James Brown and progressing through a very successful collaborative and solo career. Maceo continues to punctuate his own style and innovation on the saxophone, and on Roots & Grooves you are rewarded with a two-CD release featuring a tribute to his self-professed first and most important influence, Ray Charles, and the second CD featuring some of Maceo's greatest funk and R&B recordings. The release is backed by one of Europe's foremost big bands, Germany's WDR Big Band.

The first thing that comes out from this release is the use of the big band sound, which I find very refreshing. Musicians may have gotten away from working with the big band sound over the past few decades, but over the past few years this complement on releases has been re-emerging. When you have the right person arranging the tracks, you are rewarded with a sound that has depth, distinction, and authority, and brings out richness to a song.

The first CD is a tribute to Ray Charles, along with the backing of a big band sound you have Maceo on vocals, and what a surprise is rendered throughout the tribute. His pace and vocal tempo is a mirror to that of Ray Charles's. Ray was not only an influence, but he seems to have become a part of Maceo's soul. Ray Charles classics such as Hallelujah I Love Her, Them That's Got, Georgia on My Mind, and Margie are heard in a new light with the WDR Big Band backing, and of course Maceo's scintillating saxophone and vocals. Maceo saves the best for his vocals on Busted, You Don't Know Me, Hit the Road Jack, and one of my all time favorites Georgia on My Mind. This is a beautiful and emotional tribute to a person who touched so many lives, and by a person who continues to touch so many people with his music and passion.       

The second CD is ‘back to funk' with six tracks selected from some of the all time great songs written by Maceo. The release depicts not only where he came from musically and personally, but from this live performance, accompanied by the WDR Big Band, it shows that he still has that fervor that has driven him through his career. The musicians are unleashed to roam the rhythms of funk and R&B, and with one of the most influential musicians of this genre leading the way, the performance takes off. The release leads off with a ripping rendition of Uptown Up and does not cool down for the next 46+ minutes, ending with the Maceo classic Pass the Peas. He was quoted as saying that even though, "I'm playing the same saxophone I always play, but it was like a whole new adventure for me to play with a big band;" he truly found the fountain of youth on this recording.

Websites where you can procure Maceo Parker - Roots & Grooves are Maceo Parker, Circuit City, CD Universe, VH1 Shop, Schott Music, Artists Direct, and Amazon.

© February 2008. Luxury Experience. All rights reserved.