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.
“Maceo! Blow your horn!” That’s how James Brown would dynamically signal his favorite horn player to take another stinging sax solo — and Maceo Parker never once let his boss down. Parker’s jabbing workouts in the midst of “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “Cold Sweat” made him a household name among ’60s funk fans — not bad for a kid fresh out of college who got the gig primarily because Brown coveted his brother Melvin’s drumming chops.
This is a rare kind of music film. A portrait of a musician better known as a sideman than as a star. The classic recordings of funk music pioneer James Brown are frequently punctuated with a cry of "Maceo!" which listeners often assumed to be some funky catchphrase of Brown's own invention.
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
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.