Maceo Parker

Last updated
Maceo Parker
Maceo Parker 1997.jpg
Parker in 1997
Background information
Born (1943-02-14) February 14, 1943 (age 77)
Kinston, North Carolina, United States
Genres Funk, soul jazz, P-Funk
Occupation(s)Musician, band leader
Instruments Saxophone, flute, vocals
Years active1962–present
Labels Verve, What Are Records?, Heads Up Minor Music
Associated acts James Brown, Maceo & All the King's Men, Maceo & the Macks, The J.B.'s, Parliament, Prince, The Horny Horns

Maceo Parker ( /ˈmsi/ ; born February 14, 1943) is an American funk and soul jazz saxophonist, best known for his work with James Brown in the 1960s, as well as Parliament-Funkadelic in the 1970s. Parker was a prominent soloist on many of Brown's hit recordings, and a key part of his band, playing alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. Since the early 1990s, he has toured under his own name. [1]



Parker was born in Kinston, North Carolina. Parker's father played piano and drums in addition to singing in church with Parker's mother; his brother Melvin played drums and his brother Kellis played the trombone. [2] Parker and his brother Melvin joined James Brown in 1964; in his autobiography, Brown claims that he originally wanted Melvin as his drummer, but agreed to additionally take Maceo under his wing as part of the deal. [3] In 1970, Parker, his brother Melvin, and a few of Brown's band members left to establish the band Maceo & All the King's Men, which toured for two years. [4]

In January 1973, Parker rejoined with James Brown. He also charted a single "Parrty – Part I" (#71 pop singles) with Maceo & the Macks that year. In 1975, Parker and some of Brown's band members, including Fred Wesley, left to join George Clinton's band Parliament-Funkadelic. [5] Parker once again re-joined James Brown from 1984 to 1988.

In the 1990s, Parker began a solo career. His first album of this period "Roots Revisited" spent 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts. To date he has released 11 solo albums since 1990. His band has been billed as "the greatest little funk orchestra on earth" and the "million-dollar support band". Parker's 1992 live album "Life on Planet Groove" is considered to be his seminal live album, marking his first collaboration with Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer.

In 1993, Parker made guest appearances on hip hop group De La Soul's album Buhloone Mindstate . In the late 1990s, Parker began contributing semi-regularly to recordings by Prince and accompanying his band, The New Power Generation, on tour. He also played on the Jane's Addiction track "My Cat's Name Is Maceo" for their 1997 compilation album Kettle Whistle . In 1998, Parker performed as a guest on "What Would You Say" on a Dave Matthews Band concert, which also became one of their live albums, Live in Chicago 12.19.98 .

Maceo Parker at the Liri Blues Festival, Italy, in 2009 Maceo Parker Band Liri Blues 2009.jpg
Maceo Parker at the Liri Blues Festival, Italy, in 2009

In 2007, Parker performed as part of Prince's band for Prince's 21 nights at the O2 arena. Parker also played as part of Prince's band for his 21-night stay at LA's Forum in 2011.

Parker's album Roots & Grooves with the WDR Big Band is a tribute to Ray Charles, whom Parker cites as one of his most important influences. The album won a Jammie for best Jazz Album in 2009. Parker followed this up with another collaboration with WDR Big Band in 2012 with the album Soul Classics.

In October 2011, Parker was inducted in the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. [6]

In July 2012, Parker was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Victoires Du Jazz in Paris. He continues touring, headlining many jazz festivals in Europe and doing as many as 290 concerts a year. [7]

In May 2016, Parker received The North Carolina Heritage Award from his home state. [8]


In February 2013, Parker published his autobiography, 98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music with the publisher Chicago Review Press.


Maceo plays a gold-plated Selmer Mark VI alto saxophone and the mouthpiece he uses is a #3 Brilhart Ebolin. Maceo's reed of choice is the Vandoren Java, 3.5 gauge. [9]

In media

Parker was portrayed by Craig Robinson in the 2014 James Brown biopic Get on Up .


As bandleader

1970Maceo & All the King's MenDoing Their Own ThingHouse of the Fox / Charly Records
1972Maceo & All the King's MenFunky Music MachineExcello
1974MaceoUsPeople / P-Vine
1989Maceo ParkerFor All the King's Men 4th & Broadway
1990Maceo Parker Roots Revisited Verve / Minor Music
1991Maceo Parker Mo' Roots Verve / Minor Music
1992Maceo Parker Life on Planet Groove Verve / Minor Music
1993Maceo ParkerSouthern Exposure Jive / Novus / Minor Music
1994Maceo ParkerMaceo (Soundtrack)Minor Music
1998Maceo Parker Funk Overload What Are Records? / ESC
2000Maceo Parker Dial: M-A-C-E-O What Are Records? / ESC
2003Maceo Parker Made by Maceo What Are Records? / ESC
2004Maceo ParkerMy First Name Is MaceoMinor Music
2005Maceo ParkerSchool's In!BHM Productions
2007Maceo ParkerRoots & GroovesIntuition / Heads Up
2012Maceo ParkerSoul ClassicsListen2 Entertainment / Razor & Tie

As Sideman

1964 James Brown Out of Sight PolyGram
1969 James Brown Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud Polydor / Umgd
1970 James Brown Sex Machine Polydor / Umgd
1972 James Brown Get on the Good Foot PolyGram
1972 Johnny Hammond The Prophet Kudu
1973 James Brown The Payback Polydor / Umgd
1974 James Brown Hell Polydor / Umgd
1975 James Brown RealityPolyGram
1976 Bootsy Collins Stretchin' Out in Bootsy's Rubber Band Warner Bros.
1976 Parliament The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein Island / Mercury
1975 Parliament Mothership Connection Island / Mercury
1977 Bootsy Collins Ahh... The Name Is Bootsy, Baby! Warner Bros.
1977 Parliament Live: P-Funk Earth Tour Island / Mercury
1977 Parliament Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome Island / Mercury
1977 Fred Wesley A Blow for Me, A Toot for You Atlantic
1978 Parliament Motor Booty Affair Island / Mercury
1978 Bernie Worrell All the Woo in the World Arista
1979 Bootsy Collins This Boot Is Made for Fonk-N Warner Bros.
1979 Parliament Gloryhallastoopid MCA
1980 Bootsy Collins Ultra Wave Warner Bros.
1980 Parliament Trombipulation PolyGram
1983 P-Funk All Stars Urban Dancefloor Guerillas Sony
1983 George Clinton You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish Capitol
1985 George Clinton Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends Capitol
1985 Red Hot Chili Peppers Freaky Styley EMI
1986 James Brown Gravity Volcano
1986 James Brown James In the Jungle GroovePolydor / Umgd
1986 Ryuichi Sakamoto Futurista
1987Mico WaveCookin' from the Inside Out!!! Columbia
1987Yvonne JacksonI'm TroubleIchiban
1988 James Brown James Brown's Funky People, Pt. 2Polydor / Umgd
1988 Bootsy Collins What's Bootsy Doin'?Sony
1988 Keith Richards Talk Is Cheap EMI
1989Criminal Element OrchestraLocked Up Atlantic
1990Various ArtistsGramavision 10th Anniversary Sampler Gramavision
1990 Deee-Lite World Clique Elektra / Wea
1990 Living Colour Time's Up Sony
1990P-Funk All StarsLive at the Beverly Theatre in Hollywood Westbound
1990 Fred Wesley New FriendsPolyGram
1990Rev. Billy C. WirtzBackslider's Tractor Pull HighTone
1991 James Brown Messing with the BluesPolyGram
1991 Material The Third Power Axiom
1991Bernie WorrellFunk of AgesRhino
1991 Kenny Neal Walking on Fire Alligator
1991Various ArtistsHouse Party 2MCA
1992 Bachir Attar The Next DreamCMP
1992 10,000 Maniacs Our Time in Eden Elektra / Wea
1992 Deee-Lite Infinity WithinElektra / Wea
1993Various ArtistsThe Best Jazz Is Played with VervePolyGram
1993 George Clinton "P" Is the FunkAEM
1993 Candy Dulfer Sax-A-Go-GoSony
1993 Color Me Badd Time and ChanceWarner Bros.
1993 Bernie Worrell Blacktronic ScienceGramavision
1993 Bryan Ferry TaxiWarner Bros.
1993Various ArtistsManifestation: Axiom Collection IIPolyGram
1993 James Brown Soul Pride: The Instrumentals (1960–1969)PolyGram
1993 De La Soul Buhloone Mindstate Rhino
1993 Hans Theessink Call MeDeluge
1993 Dave Koz Lucky ManCapitol
1993 George Clinton Plush FunkAem
1993 Bernie Worrell Blacktronic ScienceGramavision
1994 Bootsy Collins Blasters of the Universe Rykodisc
1994 Pedro Abrunhosa Viagens PolyGram
1994Bryan FerryMamouna Virgin
1994 Nils Landgren Funk Unit Live in StockholmRed Horn
1992 The JB Horns I Like It Like ThatSoulciety
1995 Parliament The Best of Parliament: Give Up the FunkPolyGram
1995 Fred Wesley Say Blow by Blow BackwardsAem
1995 Larry Goldings Whatever It TakesWarner Bros.
1995 Brooklyn Funk Essentials Cool And Steady And EasyGroovetown Records
1995Various ArtistsBack to Basics, Vol. 2 Instinct
1996 James Brown Foundations Of Funk: A Brand New BagPolydor / Umgd
1996Various ArtistsLittle Magic in a Noisy WorldAct
1996Various ArtistsA Celebration of Blues: The New BreedCeleb. of Blues
1997Various ArtistsBooming on Pluto: Electro for DroidsAmbient
1997 Kenny Neal Deluxe EditionAlligator
1997 Phil Upchurch Whatever Happened to the BluesGo Jazz
1999 Ani DiFranco To The Teeth Righteous Babe Records
1999 Prince Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic NPG
2001 Dave Matthews Band Live in Chicago 12.19.98 RCA
2001 Ani DiFranco Revelling/Reckoning Righteous Babe Records
2002 Prince and The New Power Generation One Nite Alone... Live! NPG
2002 Prince and The New Power Generation One Nite Alone... the aftershow: it ain't over!NPG
2003 Prince and The New Power Generation C-Note NPG
2004 Prince Musicology NPG / Columbia
2006 Prince 3121 NPG / Universal
2007 Prince Planet Earth NPG / Columbia
2007Various Artists Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino Vanguard
2008 Prince Indigo Nights NPG
2009 Prince Lotusflower NPG


2000 Prince Rave Un2 the Year 2000 NPG Music Club
2002Maceo Parker Roots Revisited Arthaus Musik
2003 Prince Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas NPG Music Club
2004Maceo ParkerMy First Name Is MaceoMinor Music

Related Research Articles

Funk is a music genre that originated in African-American communities in the mid-1960s when African-American musicians created a rhythmic, danceable new form of music through a mixture of soul music, jazz, and rhythm and blues (R&B). Funk de-emphasizes melody and chord progressions and focuses on a strong rhythmic groove of a bassline played by an electric bassist and a drum part played by a drummer, often at slower tempos than other popular music. Like much of African-inspired music, funk typically consists of a complex groove with rhythm instruments playing interlocking grooves that created a "hypnotic" and "danceable feel". Funk uses the same richly colored extended chords found in bebop jazz, such as minor chords with added sevenths and elevenths, or dominant seventh chords with altered ninths and thirteenths.

P-Funk repertoire, musical style, and/or group of performers associated with George Clinton

P-Funk refers to the repertoire, musical style, and/or group of performers associated with George Clinton. The term is variously known as an abbreviation of Parliament-Funkadelic, Psychedelic Funk, Pure Funk, or Plainfield Funk.

George Clinton (musician) American singer, songwriter, bandleader, and music producer

George Edward Clinton is an American singer, songwriter, bandleader, and record producer. His Parliament-Funkadelic collective developed an influential and eclectic form of funk music during the 1970s that drew on science fiction, outlandish fashion, psychedelic culture, and surreal humor. He launched a solo career with the 1982 album Computer Games and would go on to influence 1990s hip-hop and G-funk. He is regarded, along with James Brown and Sly Stone, as one of the foremost innovators of funk music. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, alongside 15 other members of Parliament-Funkadelic. In 2019, he and Parliament-Funkadelic were given Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Parliament-Funkadelic American band

Parliament-Funkadelic is an American funk music collective of rotating musicians headed by George Clinton, primarily consisting of the individual bands Parliament and Funkadelic, both active since the 1960s. Their distinctive funk style drew on psychedelic culture, outlandish fashion, science-fiction, and surreal humor; it would have an influential effect on subsequent funk, post-punk, hip-hop, and post-disco artists of the 1980s and 1990s, while their collective mythology would help pioneer Afrofuturism.

Melvin Parker is a drummer. He and his brother, saxophonist Maceo Parker, were key members of James Brown's band. Parker's drumming style was a major ingredient in Brown's funk music innovations in the 1960s. In 1964 and 1965 Parker was the drummer on three of Brown's recordings: "Out of Sight," "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," and "I Got You ."

Clyde Stubblefield American drummer

Clyde Austin Stubblefield was an American drummer best known for his work with James Brown. A self-taught musician, he was influenced by the sound of natural rhythms around him. His drum patterns on Brown's recordings are considered funk standards. He recorded and toured with Brown for six years and settled in Madison, Wisconsin, where he was a staple of the local music scene. Often uncredited, samples of his drum patterns were heavily used in hip hop music. He was the recipient of an honorary doctorate in fine arts.

Fred Wesley American jazz trombonist

Fred Wesley is an American jazz and funk trombonist, best known for his work with James Brown in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as Parliament-Funkadelic in the second half of the 1970s. In 2015, Wesley was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

Candy Dulfer Dutch saxophonist and singer

Candy Dulfer is a Dutch–British jazz and pop saxophonist. She is the daughter of jazz saxophonist Hans Dulfer. She began playing at age six and founded her band Funky Stuff when she was fourteen. Her debut album Saxuality (1990) received a Grammy nomination. She has performed and recorded with Hans Dulfer, Prince, Dave Stewart, Van Morrison, Angie Stone, Maceo Parker and Rick Braun and has performed live with Alan Parsons (1995), Pink Floyd (1990), and Tower of Power (2014). She hosted the Dutch television series Candy Meets... (2007), in which she interviewed musicians. In 2013, she became a judge in the fifth season of the Dutch version of X Factor.

The J.B.'s was the name of James Brown's band from 1970 through the early 1980s. On records the band was sometimes billed under alternate names such as Fred Wesley and the JBs, The James Brown Soul Train, Maceo and the Macks, A.A.B.B., Fred Wesley and the New JBs, The First Family, and The Last Word. In addition to backing Brown, the J.B.'s played behind Bobby Byrd, Lyn Collins, and other singers associated with the James Brown Revue, and performed and recorded as a self-contained group. In 2015, they were nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but failed to be inducted and can be considered for Musical Excellence in the future. They have been eligible since 1995.

<i>And in This Corner...</i> 1989 studio album by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

And in This Corner… is the third studio album released by MC/DJ duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. The album was released in October 1989, reaching #39 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart. The album was not released on Compact Disc in the UK. However, it was available on this format in most of Europe.

Jerome Brailey American drummer

Jerome Eugene "Bigfoot" Brailey is an American drummer, best known for his work with P-Funk, which included the bands Parliament, Funkadelic, and numerous related projects. Brailey is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.

<i>The Payback</i> 1973 studio album by James Brown

The Payback is the 37th studio album by American musician James Brown. The album was released in December 1973, by Polydor Records. It was originally scheduled to become the soundtrack for the blaxploitation film Hell Up in Harlem, but was rejected by the film's producers, who dismissed it as "the same old James Brown stuff." It went to #1 on the Soul Albums chart for two weeks and cracked the Pop Albums chart in the Top 40. It was Brown's only studio album to be certified gold.

Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis American saxophonist

Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis is an American saxophonist, composer and arranger. With a background in jazz, he was an important member of James Brown's band in the 1960s, appearing on many of Brown's most notable recordings and co-writing hits like "Cold Sweat" and "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud". He also worked closely with Van Morrison.

Funk rock music genre that fuses funk and rock elements

Funk rock is a fusion genre that mixes elements of funk and rock. James Brown and others declared that Little Richard and his mid-1950s road band, The Upsetters, were the first to put the funk in the rock and roll beat, with a biographer stating that their music "spark[ed] the musical transition from fifties rock and roll to sixties funk."

"Soul Power" is a song by James Brown. Brown recorded it with the original J.B.'s and it was released as a three-part single in 1971. Like "Get Up Sex Machine" and other hits from this period it features backing vocals by Bobby Byrd. It charted #3 R&B and #29 Pop.

Cold Sweat song by James Brown

"Cold Sweat" is a song performed by James Brown and written with his bandleader Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis. Brown recorded it in May 1967. An edited version of "Cold Sweat" released as a two-part single on King Records was a No. 1 R&B hit, and reached number seven on the Pop Singles chart. The complete recording, over 7 minutes long, was included on an album of the same name.

<i>Soul on Top</i> 1970 studio album by James Brown

Soul on Top is the 28th studio album by American musician James Brown. The album was released in April 1970, by King. Brown and saxophonist Maceo Parker worked with arranger/conductor Oliver Nelson to record a big band, funk and jazz vocal album. It was recorded with Louie Bellson and his 18-piece jazz orchestra at United Western Recorders in Hollywood, California in November 1969, and features jazz standards, show tunes, and middle of the road hits, as well as a new arrangement of Brown's funk hit "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag".

Doing It to Death single by The J.B.s and Fred Wesley

"Doing It to Death", also known as "Gonna Have a Funky Good Time", is a funk song recorded by The J.B.'s featuring James Brown. It was released as a single in 1973 and peaked at number one on the soul singles chart and number twenty-two on the Hot 100. Although the song has a lead vocal by Brown, the recording is credited to "Fred Wesley & The J.B.'s". It was the first J.B.'s recording to feature saxophonist Maceo Parker, who had returned to work with Brown again after attempting a career as a bandleader.

Greg Boyer (musician) American trombonist

Greg Boyer is an American trombonist known for performing with many successful R&B and funk bands.

Rüdiger Baldauf German musician

Rüdiger Baldauf is a German jazz musician, trumpet player, composer and arranger.


  1. Maceo Parker, 98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music, Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2013. ISBN   978-1-61374-346-1
  2. Thompson, Dave (2001). Funk. Backbeat Books. pp. 176-179. ISBN   0-87930-629-7.
  3. Brown, James (1988). The Godfather of Soul (with Bruce Tucker), Fontana / Collins, p. 156. ISBN   0-00-637256-2.
  4. Brown (1988). The Godfather of Soul, pp. 217-18.
  5. Wesley, Fred Jr (2002), Hit Me, Fred. Duke University Press, p. 192. ISBN   0-8223-2909-3.
  6. "Inductee – Maceo Parker". North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2012-04-02.
  7. "Maceo Parker talks '98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music': Q&A". 2016-01-15. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
  8. "Eight North Carolinians to Receive Prestigious Heritage Award". 2015-09-04. Archived from the original on 2016-01-14. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  9. "Maceo Parker Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2014-05-18.