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Roots & Grooves

2 CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 12, 2008

Editorial Reviews


This appropriately titled two-disc set finds famed ex-James Brown horn man Maceo Parker cutting loose with Germany’s incredible WDR Big Band. The first disc features a swinging Ray Charles tribute and the second, subtitled "Back to Funk," has the alto saxophonist and vocalist taking it to the bridge on the music he is famous for. Although not known for his singing, Parker acquits himself well, especially on the Charles material, when he sounds like a gruffer version of Brother Ray. The band boasts 15 horns (five each of saxes, trumpets, and trombones) pushing hard and tight through nearly two hours of music. The opening "Hallelujah I Love Her So" and the closing, nine-minute "What’d I Say" from the first platter are standouts connecting with crisp, vibrant charts and a vigorous attack. But even ballads "Georgia on My Mind" and "You Don’t Know Me" register, due to Parker’s obvious glee in performing this material along with his group’s sheer talent and a wildly appreciative audience. The funk segment shoots the intensity up a few more notches with Parliament-Funkadelic alumni Dennis Chambers (drums) and Rodney "Skeet" Curtis (bass) driving the energy to uncommonly soulful and sweaty peaks. The concept of playing hard funk with a brassy big band in tow is somewhat unusual, but the results smash all preconceptions. Parker’s dueling alto battle with Karolina Strassmayer on "To Be or Not to Be" and a rousing 17-minute version of the J.B.’s classic "Pass the Peas" are just a few highlights of this rollicking, electrifying set. --Hal Horowitz

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Hallelujah I Love Her So
  2. Busted
  3. Them That's Got
  4. You Don't Know Me
  5. Hit the Road Jack
  6. Margie
  7. Georgia On My Mind
  8. What'd I Say

Disc: 2

  1. Uptown Up
  2. To Be Or Not To Be
  3. Off the Hook
  4. Advanced Funk
  5. Shake Everything You Got
  6. Pass the Peas

Product details

  • Audio CD (February 12, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Heads Up
  • ASIN: B00127I3V8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,478 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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