Maceo Parker’s name is synonymous with funk music. He was the driving force behind James Brown’s funkiest grooves, as well as a member of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic. In 2007, more than four decades into his career, Parker, had a chance to fulfill a personal dream, working with the Grammy award winning WDR Big Band. Together, they performed a series of shows paying tribute to the late Ray Charles, the biggest influence on Parker’s musical life, while also performing some his own material in a unique, big band setting.
The best songs from these shows were culled to form a two-disc set dubbed Roots & Grooves. The Roots portion of the disc pays homage to Charles, which finds Parker not only playing saxophone, but also singing classics such as "Hit the Road Jack," "You Don’t Know Me," "Margie," and a magical "Georgia on My Mind."
The second disc, Grooves, features Parker’s best original material, including “Off the Hook,” “Advanced Funk” and “Pass the Peas.” Parker’s performance thrives as his sense of melodic, percussive grooves translates beautifully in this new setting, backed by a big band. With Maceo in top form, his classic hits will seemingly forever cause everyone within ear to get up and shake their own groove thing.
Roots & Grooves is out now on Heads Up International.