Altoist Maceo Parker has spent most of his career in R&B funk bands, most notably those led by James Brown, George Clinton, and Bootsy Collins. This CD gave him a chance to stretch out as a leader, and his soulful horn immediately brings to mind Hank Crawford and (to a lesser extent) Lou Donaldson. With a strong backup group that includes Pee Wee Ellis on tenor, trombonist Fred Wesley, and Don Pullen on organ, Parker enthusiastically plays over infectious grooves with just one funky departure ("In Time"). Roots Revisited is a throwback to the 1960s soul-jazz style and Maceo Parker gives one the impression that, if called upon, he could hold his own on a bebop date.
This appropriately titled two-disc set finds famed ex-James Brown horn man Maceo Parker cutting loose with Germany’s incredible WDR Big Band. The first disc features a swinging Ray Charles tribute and the second, subtitled "Back to Funk," has the alto saxophonist and vocalist taking it to the bridge on the music he is famous for. Although not known for his singing, Parker acquits himself well, especially on the Charles material, when he sounds like a gruffer version of Brother Ray. The band boasts 15 horns (five each of saxes, trumpets, and trombones) pushing hard and tight through nearly two hours of music.
Parker knows that the groove is the thing, and working the groove to death is his main goal, so being up to date, current, and innovative doesn't concern him very much, which is why School's In! sounds so wonderfully refreshing, and is arguably his most complete effort since 1992's Life on Planet Groove. Recorded in the studio with his touring band, the album has a loose, bright feel, grounded, of course, by Parker's brand of jazz-tinged soul funk.
Made By Maceo reaches into the depths of funk and highlights the space between rules of genre. Maceo takes on an exploratory excursion from prescription and once again relieves what ails ya. Made by Maceo starts with sharp funk, the kind we all love and recognize - he invites us in (come by and see) and then describes the rules (off the hook) - but take notes, because now it's learning time. Between bookends of pure funk, Made By Maceo is a syllabus. the lesson starts with a saxophone expanding across a spectrum of riff and range. I recognize riffs and then suddenly Maceo has found a new way to tantalize me with them. And that's when i start dancing in my living room, the safest environment possible. From there is a unit on Jazz, and bending the ends of Jazz and funk to meet in a new circle.
Mo' Roots is exactly what the title describes it as being. Mo' Roots is a pure bop jazz album and a brilliant one at that. Unlike other Maceo Parker albums, Maceo sticks to bop jazz and incoporates few elements of funk into this brilliant work. Not to say there is anything wrong with his other albums, however this is to die for. Perfect for intoxicated social gatherings. This is the best album i have heard in ages. Simply brilliant.- Amazon.com