98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music [NOOK Book]

Overview

Maceo Parker’s signature style became the lynchpin of James Brown's band when he and his brother Melvin joined the Hardest Working Man in Show Business in 1964. That style helped define Brown’s brand of funk, and the phrase “Maceo, I want you to blow!”  became part of the lexicon of black music. He took time off from James Brown to play with George Clinton’s P-funk collective and with Bootsy’s Rubber Band; he also formed his own band, Maceo and All the King’s Men, whose ...

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98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music

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Overview

Maceo Parker’s signature style became the lynchpin of James Brown's band when he and his brother Melvin joined the Hardest Working Man in Show Business in 1964. That style helped define Brown’s brand of funk, and the phrase “Maceo, I want you to blow!”  became part of the lexicon of black music. He took time off from James Brown to play with George Clinton’s P-funk collective and with Bootsy’s Rubber Band; he also formed his own band, Maceo and All the King’s Men, whose records are cult favorites among funk aficionados.

 

Here Maceo tells his own warm and astonishing story, from his Southern upbringing to his career touring the world and playing to adoring fans. Maceo has long called his approach to the saxophone “2% jazz, 98% funky stuff.” Now, on the eve of Maceo’s 70th birthday, in prose as lively and funky as his saxophone playing, here is the definitive story of one of the funkiest musicians alive.

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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: 9781613743492
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 539,629
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Maceo Parker is arguably the world’s most famous living saxophone player. Not only has he contributed to the success of some of the world’s most influential musicians—James Brown, George Clinton, Prince—but he has also enjoyed a blistering solo career for more than twenty-two years. He has collaborated with Ray Charles, Ani DiFranco, James Taylor, De La Soul, the Dave Matthews Band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many others.
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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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