98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music

Overview

Revealing the warm and astonishing story of an influential jazz legend, this personal narrative tells the story of a man’s journey from a Southern upbringing to a career touring the world to play for adoring fans. It tells how James Brown first discovered the Parker brothers—Melvin, the drummer, and Maceo on sax—in a band at a small North Carolina nightclub in 1963. Brown hired them both, but it was Maceo’s signature style that helped define Brown’s brand of funk, and the phrase “Maceo, I want you to blow!” ...

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98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music

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Overview

Revealing the warm and astonishing story of an influential jazz legend, this personal narrative tells the story of a man’s journey from a Southern upbringing to a career touring the world to play for adoring fans. It tells how James Brown first discovered the Parker brothers—Melvin, the drummer, and Maceo on sax—in a band at a small North Carolina nightclub in 1963. Brown hired them both, but it was Maceo’s signature style that helped define Brown’s brand of funk, and the phrase “Maceo, I want you to blow!” became part of the lexicon of black music. A riveting story of musical education with frank and revelatory insights about George Clinton and others, this definitive autobiography arrives just in time to celebrate the 70th birthday of the author—one of the funkiest musicians alive—and will be enjoyed by jazz and funk aficionados alike.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An important addition to any library of black music biographies."  —DownBeat

"A breezy, anecdotal memoir by the funky saxophonist who reveals himself to be an uncommonly decent man."  —Kirkus Reviews

"A remarkably unassuming, even-tempered account from a true funk icon."  —EntertainmentWeekly.com

"Hipper than most 20-year-olds, [Parker] has more soul in his little finger than a roomful of Boyz II Men."  —Oakland Tribune

"Parker talks with his sax, chatters away without a seeming care. It's a musical antidepressant, an antidote to dark days."  —San Diego Reader

"Those familiar with Parker’s work as a world-class saxophonist will enjoy getting to know him a little better. If you’re not a fan, this will give you plenty of new music to dig into."  —Music Tomes

School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 7–10—If readers do not have the same respect for Parker's name that the musician had for his idol, Ray Charles, that is likely to have changed by the time they finish reading this biography of a music prodigy and one of the best saxophone players in the music business. Drawn to the piano as a toddler, Parker astonished his parents with an innate ability that they eagerly fostered throughout his childhood, although a spur-of-the-moment impression from a parade led the young impresario to change to the saxophone, and he never looked back. A combination of having good luck with mentors, being driven to perform, and being determined to find his own sound put Parker in a position where he was hired as a seasoned performer with his brother by James Brown while still a college student in 1964. He blossomed as an artist during this period, before being drafted by the army. The narrative deftly handles the firsthand view of civil-rights issues and the historical events pertinent to the author, making this a relevant book for school libraries. Where the text shines is in the author's handling of the musicians with whom he played. No foibles and difficulties such as drugs, Brown's legal difficulties, and band squabbles are overlooked, and the text still manages to include a solid picture of the life of an artist and the evolution of funk music.—Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Canada
Kirkus Reviews
A breezy, anecdotal memoir by the funky saxophonist who reveals himself to be an uncommonly decent man. Though fans of James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic know Parker as one of the finest saxophonists in the genre, even he admits that his first name is his claim to fame, particularly after his first recorded solo on "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," when Brown exhorted him, "I want you to blow, Maceo." That huge hit elevated Parker beyond the ranks of talented but little-known sidemen, spreading the word even among international audiences who thought that "Maceo" was some kind of exotic slang rather than an actual man's name. Though the book's repetitiveness could have used a strong editor and another writer might have mined the material for more dramatic detail and narrative momentum, the author's conversational tone makes for genial companionship. He relates his upbringing in a musical, churchgoing family, the financial struggles of his alcoholic (but much beloved) father, the adventures of a Southern black musician during segregation and the civil rights movement, and his attempts to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War. He tells how his drummer brother first commanded the attention of Brown, who agreed to hire Maceo as well to fill a need for a baritone saxophonist (which he had never played). The contrast between the strict discipline in Brown's band and the comparative anarchy under P-Funk's George Clinton (with whom many Brown alums decamped), as well as that between the early, whipcracking Brown and the later, drug-addled one generate much of the interest in the book. Yet even more compelling is the author's self-portrait, as one who has "stayed away from drinking and drugs my entire life" and who was "most comfortable traveling in the slow lane when it came to women" (and lost some because of it). A lightweight but enjoyable memoir from a humble man who has enjoyed a career he can be proud of.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613743461
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/2013
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 701,069
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Maceo Parker is a saxophone player who has contributed to the success of James Brown, George Clinton, and Bootsy Collins. He has collaborated with Ray Charles, Ani DiFranco, James Taylor, De La Soul, Dave Matthews Band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many others and has had a solo career for the over 22 years. He lives in Kinston, North Carolina.

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Table of Contents

Preface: You're Gonna Know Me vii

1 Teaching Little Fingers to Play 3

2 I Remember Mr. Banks 25

3 Be Good Boys 41

4 All Aboard the Night Train 67

5 Southern Exposure 85

6 Keep the Fires Burning 99

7 All the King's Men 123

8 Take a Ride on the Mothership 147

9 The Lean Years 159

10 A Funky Renaissance 171

Index 196

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