Maceo Parker, the saxophonist who pioneered the sounds of funk and soul in the 1960s as the sideman to the legendary James Brown, has since established a solo career that embraces not only that seminal funk sound but also jazz, R&B and more.
On Soul Classics, a collection of nine songs recorded live at the Leverkusener Jazz Festival in Leverkusener, Germany, in November 2011, Parker reunites with the WDR Big Band, whom he first encountered on the 2008 two-disc release of Roots & Grooves.
The record captures Parker and his own small combo – bassist Christian McBride and drummer Core Coleman-Dunham – in collaboration with the Cologne-based 15-piece orchestra led by conductor/arranger Michael Abene.
Soul Classics kicks off with a blast of energy from the James Brown canon, a driving rendition of “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, and closes much the same was, this time with one of his own compositions, the punchy and uptempo “Come By and See”. The positive and enthusiastic crowd response to the set is hard to miss.
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