Sunday, February 2, 2014

Maceo Parker Soul Classics 2011

Maceo Parker does it again. A while back I raved about Maceo's Roots & Grooves, a live recording from 2008 with Germany's WDR Big Band. This time out, Maceo returns to Germany and another live recording with the famed WDR Big Band, this time bringing Christian McBride on bass and Cora Coleman-Dunham on drums along for the ride.

Soul Classics is just that. James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Issac Hates, Aretha Franklin, Larry Graham, and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes all get the Maceo Parker treatment. He's become a compelling singer, and always gets into it, soulful and funky as you wanna be.

His sax playing is melodic and strong, with that soulful tone he's had since his mid-sixties debut with James Brown. The WDR Big Band plays flawlessly, and delivers a big brash sound that suits Maceo. They clearly inspire him to fine work. The arrangements are super-hot, and everyone plays like their souls are at stake if they aren't fully invested in every note. Every single note. Cora Coleman-Dunham's drumming deserves special mention.

A consummate pro that just gets better with age, the sixty-eight-year-old Parker is indefatigable. The recording is clean, the band is tight, the song selection is hot, and Maceo puts his funky stamp on everything.

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