The temps may be arctic, but come Friday things will heat up Downtown when legendary saxman Maceo Parker takes the stage at the Byham.
Once a prominent member of James Brown’s band and George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic, Parker is the recipient of a Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award and has topped the Billboard’s Jazz Charts. Now, the iconic jazz, funk and R&B saxophonist returns to Pittsburgh as part of a tour of select East Coast cities.
At the Byham, audiences will enjoy Parker’s signature boundary-breaking approach and marathon performance style, showing that he is equally at home within the realms of funk, jazz, rock, or hip-hop.
Parker’s unique rhythmic and soulful sound is inspired by innovators such as Louis Jordan, Ray Charles and James Brown. A key soloist on many of Brown’s hit recordings, Parker played alto, tenor and baritone sax for the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. An authentic artistic who consistently follows his own musical path and forges new sonic territory, the renowned and gifted sideman launched a successful solo career in 1991, which led him straight to the top of Billboard’s Jazz Charts for his 1990 recording, “Roots Revisited.”
Revered for both his musical pedigree and prowess, Parker was born to a musical family in Kinston, NC in 1943, and is perhaps best known for his work with James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic during the 1960s and 1970s. Maestro of one of the world’s tightest funk orchestras, Parker has also performed with funk and soul legends such as Prince and Bootsy Collins, and has collaborated with Ani Difranco, De La Soul and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Dubbed “the greatest little funk orchestra on earth,” Parker’s recent touring band has featured former Parliament-Funkadelic member Rodney Skeet Curtis (bass), Bruno Speight (guitar), Jamal Thomas (drums), Ron Tooley (trumpet), Dennis Rollins (trombone), and Martha High (vocals).
In 2011, Parker was inducted in the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame; one year later, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Victoires Du Jazz in Paris as well as an Icon Award from Rotterdam’s North Sea Jazz Festival.