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Maceo Parker

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Maceo Parker
Parker in 1997
Parker in 1997
Background information
Born (1943-02-14) February 14, 1943 (age 81)
Kinston, North Carolina, United States
GenresFunk, P-Funk, soul music, R&B, soul jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, band leader
Instrument(s)Saxophone, flute, piano, vocals
Years active1962–present
LabelsVerve, What Are Records?, Heads Up Minor Music

Maceo Parker (/ˈmsi/; born February 14, 1943)[1] is an American funk and soul jazz saxophonist, best known for his work with James Brown in the 1960s, Parliament-Funkadelic in the 1970s and Prince in the 2000s. 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.[2]


Parker was born in Kinston, North Carolina, United States.[1] 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.[3] Parker and his brother Melvin joined James Brown in 1964;[1] 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.[4] In March 1970, Parker, his brother Melvin, and a few of Brown's band members left to establish the band Maceo & All the King's Men,[1] which toured for two years.[5]

In January 1973, Parker rejoined James Brown's group.[1] He also charted a single "Parrty – Part I" (No. 71 pop singles) with Maceo & the Macks that year.[1] In 1975, Parker and some of Brown's band members, including Fred Wesley, left to join George Clinton's band Parliament-Funkadelic.[6] Parker once again re-joined James Brown from 1984 to 1988.[1]

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. 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.[7] 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

In 2004, Parker toured as a part of Prince's band for the "Musicology Live 2004ever" tour and again in 2007 he 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.

In 2008, Maceo Parker closed the Edmonton International Jazz Festival at Urban Lounge.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10]

In May 2016, Parker received The North Carolina Heritage Award from his home state.[11]

Book and media[edit]

In February 2013, Maceo Parker published his autobiography, 98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music with the publisher Chicago Review Press.[12] Parker was portrayed by Craig Robinson in the 2014 James Brown biopic Get on Up.


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.[13]


As bandleader[edit]

Year Credited As Album Label
1970 Maceo & All the King's Men Doing Their Own Thing House of the Fox / Charly Records
1972 Maceo & All the King's Men Funky Music Machine Excello
1974 Maceo Us People / P-Vine
1989 Maceo Parker For All the King's Men 4th & Broadway
1990 Maceo Parker Roots Revisited Verve / Minor Music
1991 Maceo Parker Mo' Roots Verve / Minor Music
1992 Maceo Parker Life on Planet Groove Verve / Minor Music
1993 Maceo Parker Southern Exposure Jive / Novus / Minor Music
1994 Maceo Parker Maceo (Soundtrack) Minor Music
1998 Maceo Parker Funk Overload What Are Records? / ESC
2000 Maceo Parker Dial: M-A-C-E-O What Are Records? / ESC
2003 Maceo Parker Made by Maceo What Are Records? / ESC
2004 Maceo Parker My First Name Is Maceo Minor Music
2005 Maceo Parker School's In! BHM Productions
2007 Maceo Parker Roots & Grooves Intuition / Heads Up
2012 Maceo Parker Soul Classics Listen2 Entertainment / Razor & Tie
2018 Maceo Parker Life On Planet Groove - Revisited Verve / Minor Music
2020 Maceo Parker Soul Food: Cooking With Maceo Mascot Label Group / The Funk Garage

As sideman[edit]

Year Artist Album Label
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 Reality PolyGram
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 Groove Polydor / Umgd
1986 Ryuichi Sakamoto Futurista
1987 Mico Wave Cookin' from the Inside Out!!! Columbia
1987 Yvonne Jackson I'm Trouble Ichiban
1988 James Brown James Brown's Funky People, Pt. 2 Polydor / Umgd
1988 Bootsy Collins What's Bootsy Doin'? Sony
1988 Keith Richards Talk Is Cheap EMI
1989 Criminal Element Orchestra Locked Up Atlantic
1990 Various Artists Gramavision 10th Anniversary Sampler Gramavision
1990 Deee-Lite World Clique Elektra / Wea
1990 Living Colour Time's Up Sony
1990 P-Funk All Stars Live at the Beverly Theatre in Hollywood Westbound
1990 Fred Wesley New Friends PolyGram
1990 Rev. Billy C. Wirtz Backslider's Tractor Pull HighTone
1991 James Brown Messing with the Blues PolyGram
1991 Material The Third Power Axiom
1991 Bernie Worrell Funk of Ages Rhino
1991 Kenny Neal Walking on Fire Alligator
1991 Various Artists House Party 2 MCA
1992 Bachir Attar The Next Dream CMP
1992 10,000 Maniacs Our Time in Eden Elektra / Wea
1992 Deee-Lite Infinity Within Elektra / Wea
1993 Various Artists The Best Jazz Is Played with Verve PolyGram
1993 George Clinton "P" Is the Funk AEM
1993 Candy Dulfer Sax-A-Go-Go Sony
1993 Color Me Badd Time and Chance Warner Bros.
1993 Bernie Worrell Blacktronic Science Gramavision
1993 Bryan Ferry Taxi Warner Bros.
1993 Various Artists Manifestation: Axiom Collection II PolyGram
1993 James Brown Soul Pride: The Instrumentals (1960–1969) PolyGram
1993 De La Soul Buhloone Mindstate Rhino
1993 Hans Theessink Call Me Deluge
1993 Dave Koz Lucky Man Capitol
1993 George Clinton Plush Funk Aem
1993 Bernie Worrell Blacktronic Science Gramavision
1994 Bootsy Collins Blasters of the Universe Rykodisc
1994 Pedro Abrunhosa Viagens PolyGram
1994 Bryan Ferry Mamouna Virgin
1994 Nils Landgren Funk Unit Live in Stockholm Red Horn
1992 The JB Horns I Like It Like That Soulciety
1995 Parliament The Best of Parliament: Give Up the Funk PolyGram
1995 Fred Wesley Say Blow by Blow Backwards Aem
1995 Larry Goldings Whatever It Takes Warner Bros.
1995 Brooklyn Funk Essentials Cool And Steady And Easy Groovetown Records
1995 Various Artists Back to Basics, Vol. 2 Instinct
1996 James Brown Foundations Of Funk: A Brand New Bag Polydor / Umgd
1996 Various Artists Little Magic in a Noisy World Act
1996 Various Artists A Celebration of Blues: The New Breed Celeb. of Blues
1997 Various Artists Booming on Pluto: Electro for Droids Ambient
1997 Kenny Neal Deluxe Edition Alligator
1997 Phil Upchurch Whatever Happened to the Blues Go 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
2007 Various Artists Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino Vanguard
2008 Prince Indigo Nights NPG
2009 Prince Lotusflower NPG


Year Artist Album Label
2000 Prince Rave Un2 the Year 2000 NPG Music Club
2002 Maceo Parker Roots Revisited Arthaus Musik
2003 Prince Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas NPG Music Club
2004 Maceo Parker My First Name Is Maceo Minor Music


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1561. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ Parker, Maceo (2013). 98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music. Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-61374-346-1.
  3. ^ Thompson, Dave (2001). Funk. Backbeat Books. pp. 176-179. ISBN 0-87930-629-7.
  4. ^ Brown, James (1988). The Godfather of Soul (with Bruce Tucker), Fontana / Collins, p. 156. ISBN 0-00-637256-2.
  5. ^ Brown (1988). The Godfather of Soul, pp. 217-18.
  6. ^ Wesley, Fred Jr (2002), Hit Me, Fred. Duke University Press, p. 192. ISBN 0-8223-2909-3.
  7. ^ De La Sou Buhloone Mindstate Retirieved 6 May 2024
  8. ^ Levesque, Roger (June 29, 2008). "Final Day at Jazz Fest". The Edmonton Journal. p. B5.
  9. ^ "Inductee – Maceo Parker". North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2012-04-02.
  10. ^ "Maceo Parker talks '98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music': Q&A". Ew.com. 2016-01-15. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
  11. ^ "Eight North Carolinians to Receive Prestigious Heritage Award". Ncarts.org. 2015-09-04. Archived from the original on 2016-01-14. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  12. ^ Maceo Parker Chicago Review Press Retrieved 16 April 2022
  13. ^ "Maceo Parker Frequently Asked Questions". Maceoparker.com. Archived from the original on 2019-11-24. Retrieved 2014-05-18.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]