1943 – Saxophonist Maceo Parker, one of James Brown’s most acclaimed sidemen, is born This Day In Rock in Kinston, North Carolina.
Maceo (pronounced /ˈmeɪsiːoʊ/;) Parker is an American funk and soul jazz saxophonist, best known for his work with James Brown in the 1960s, as well as Parliament-Funkadelic (P-Funk) in the 1970s. On many of Brown’s hit recordings, Parker was a prominent soloist and a key part of his band, playing alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. He has toured continuously under his own name since the early 1990s and has built up a strong fan base. He is now just as well known for his own shows.
Parker’s father played piano and drums. His mother and father both sang in church. His brother Kellis played trombone and his brother Melvin played drums.
Parker and his brother, Melvin, joined James Brown in 1964; in his book, Brown says that he originally wanted Melvin as his drummer, but agreed to take Maceo under his wing as part of the deal. Parker, his brother Melvin, and a few of Brown’s band members left to found the group Maceo & All the King’s Men which toured for two years.
In 1974, Parker returned to James Brown. He also charted a single “Parrty – Part I” (No. 71 pop singles) with Maceo & the Macks that year. Parker and some of Brown’s band members, including Fred Wesley, left to join George Clinton’s band Parliament-Funkadelic in 1975. Parker later re-joined James Brown from 1984 to 1988.
Parker began his successful solo career in the 1990s, which is ongoing to this day. He has released ten solo records and has been playing 100-150 tour dates per year. His average play time on stage is over two and a half hours.
Parker performed as a guest on “What Would You Say” on a Dave Matthews Band concert in 1998 which also became one of their live albums, Live in Chicago 12.19.98.