Gimme Some More: Maceo Parker Makes It Funky
by Dave Segal
on Sun, Sep 1, 2013 at 1:04 PM
What if every paragraph a Stranger writer wrote contained entreaties to “give it up to publisher Tim Keck for making this all possible”? Or “put your hands together for editor-in-chief Christopher Frizzelle, who whipped this piece into shape”? Or “let’s hear it for the production staff, who made this layout absolutely pop off the page”? You’d soon toss the paper or click away from the page in disgust. But we let this happen with bands all the time. In fact, we indulge this back-patting with wild applause. Frankly, it’s exhausting and kind of a time-wasting strategy.
"When I said, 'Make it funky,' I didn't mean for y'all to fart at once!"
That’s what happened last night at the Starbucks Stage, where Maceo Parker excessively praised his band throughout the 75-minute performance. Sure, they were excellent, but a single introduction to each musician is sufficient. We came to hear Maceo’s legendary back catalog brought to vivid life, not clap like trained seals every five minutes for a trombonist (Dennis Rollins) or a backup vocalist (Darlene Parker), as fine as they are. Rant over.
Maceo and his band were a tight delight, mostly veering into party-starting funk and sophisticated jazz with phenomenal dexterity. Every player could make fellow musicians envious their chops, but they put them in the service of making a large mass of people move rhythmically. The set often had a medley-ish feel to it, with multiple James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic tunes and choruses merging into one another. Each musician had opportunities to solo, and they killed without fail, especially guitarist Bruno Speight, who peeled off torrid runs like James Blood Ulmer, while barely moving anything but his wrists and fingers, and drummer Marcus Parker (Maceo’s nephew), who was at once amazingly powerful and funky.
Maceo Parker, giving Seattle saxual healing.
Maceo himself possessed a vigor that belied his 70 years. He may not be in his prime, but his joyous, articulate tone on the sax remains supremely pleasurable, and he held his own with his outstanding band—including the keyboardist, who looked a bit like Bob Newhart. And never forget: Maceo loves us, as he mentioned 13 times. (Right about now I'd like to ask you to give a big hand for The Stranger’s tech department, for keeping these here blogs hummin’!)
Setlist (what I could recognize anyway) after the jump.
Fiesta Off the Hook Prisoner of Love/Make It Funky Gimme Some More Stand by Me Uptown Up Pass the Peas/Soul Power It’s Too Funky in Here Doing It to Death