Maceo Parker brings his “2 percent jazz, 98 percent funky stuff” to the Ashland Armory

Maceo Parker, known as a legendary innovator in jazz and funk, will bring his show to the Historic Ashland Armory on Tuesday, April 26.

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Parker has played with powerhouses such as James Brown, Bootsy Collins, George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic, Ray Charles, and even the Red Hot Chili Peppers and De La Soul.

His saxophone playing is prominent on many legendary funk songs. James Brown would often give the audience a hint of what’s coming, screaming, “Maceo, I Want You to Blow!” This famous cue for Parker to solo can be heard on many of Brown’s recordings, including “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “Cold Sweat.”

Parker first began playing with Brown in the early 1960s after his brother, Melvin, landed a job as Brown’s drummer. When Brown offered Melvin the gig, Melvin said, “Oh, by the way Mr. Brown, this is my brother Maceo, he plays saxophone, and he needs a job too.”

Parker says that he thought he and his brother would play with Brown for about six months, then go back to school.

“We stayed a lot longer than that,” said Parker. He once described playing with James Brown as “like being at university.”

Parker moved with ease from Brown’s funky soul in the 1960s, to the spacey funk of Bootsy Collins and George Clinton in the 1970s, after which he collaborated with numerous acts.

He began concentrating on his solo career in 1990, and has released 14 albums in all. He describes his music as being “2 percent jazz, 98 percent funky stuff.”

Tuesday’s show will feature Funkamungus opening for Parker. The Historic Ashland Armory is located at 208 Oak St. in Ashland. The show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door.


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