If you’re a fan of soul or funk music, you’ve probably heard Maceo Parker play … even if you don’t have any of his solo albums. After all, his sax play is also over James Brown most famous recordings. “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag”, “I Got You (I Feel Good”), “Sex Machine”, “Cold Sweat” … yup … that saxophone solo? That sound that’s a building block of funk music? That’s Maceo. That’s his sound.
What’s that you say? You’re not a James Brown fan? What about Parliament-Funkadelic, Keith Richards, Red Hot Chili Peppers, De La Soul, Prince, Deee-Lite or Living Colour? Well, he’s played on their records too. Point? The man is an integral part of music history. Perhaps, one of the most prolific sidemen in the history of music. But let’s not get it twisted. His solo albums are pretty damn good too. I was excited to have the opportunity to watch this saxophone legend play up close at the Beach Ball Festival. I was ready to get funky and to shake my groove thing.
Maceo and his band brought their musicality and funk to the stage. Maceo not only played like the legend he is known to be, but he also brought a level of showmanship that could only come with years of seasoning. His set seemed to cover the entire the breadth of his career (as a solo artist and sideman), touching on a few James Brown classics and even incorporating a tribute to one his greatest influences, Ray Charles, during which Maceo donned a pair of sunglasses. He gave time to each of his players to allow them to shine on their instruments, proving that each was capable of holding their own, but at the end of the day, as the sun set into the Pacific, it was Maceo who shined the most.