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MACEO PARKER 2012 SOULMUSIC.COM INVTERVIEW
A CLASSIC SOUL PLAYER
Interview recorded September 19, 2012

What can be said about this sax legend? MACEO PARKER is widely known for his work with the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. He has a new CD available on Razor & Tie, SOUL CLASSICS – recorded live in Europe with the WDR Big Band as well as bassist Christian McBride and drummer Cora Coleman Dunham. The “Soul Ninja” KEVIN GOINS phoned Maceo for this interview.

Kevin Goins: This is Kevin Goins with SoulMusic.com. With us today, all we got to say is one name: Maceo! He’s got a great new album called SOUL CLASSICS. It’s his second one with the WDR Big Band, released on the Razor and Tie label. Won’t you please welcome to the microphone, Maceo Parker. Maceo, welcome to SoulMusic.com, sir.

Maceo Parker: Thank you. It’s a pleasure.

KG: Alrighty. Let’s talk about this new CD of yours, SOUL CLASSICS. This is your second time with the WDR Big Band. How did you team up with them in the first place?

MP: Well, let me see. My producer was also producing Joe Zawinul and Joe Zawinul had worked with that WDR band, and somehow he, my producer and maybe somebody over there representing that band, all together, and I think my name just came up somehow and then somebody from over there was kind of interested. They said, “Oh yeah, you can kind of hook up with Maceo, too. Well, why don’t we see if we can do a project with him?” That’s the way it all started. But, by the time it trickled down from producer to my mangers, from my manager to me, when she said to me, you know there’s a possibility that you might be able to do a project with the big band, WDR Big Band. As soon as she said big band, it was almost as if she’d said that there’s a chance that you may be able to do a project with Ray Charles because as soon as she said "big band," my brain somehow immediately just said, yeah, if it happens, I’m going to do Ray Charles, and that’s what I did.

KG: Right, the first album was a tribute to Brother Ray, and then came this SOUL CLASSICS CD. I listened to it the other week; mighty fine music you have here. You’ve got a wonderful rhythm section courtesy of bass man Christian McBride and the lady on the drums, Cora Coleman Dunham. Wow.

MP: Oh yeah. You know, a lot of times you mix stuff and throw stuff up in the air and see what falls and see what happens and all that and it’s all good. That’s what makes this particular business really interesting and really kind of keeps you busy and really keeps you young because of the situations can constantly change all the time and it seems like it’s always for the better. You can do this. You can do that, and on and on and on, and throughout your career, it’s a mixture of different things. Like, for instance, I get a chance to work with Fred Wesley every now and then, and George Clinton every now and then if I want to. I can do Prince every now and then, and then my thing, and the big band thing and on and on and on. That keeps it really interesting.

KG: Of course. And what’s really interesting is that this CD, SOUL CLASSICS, you pick from practically almost every corner of Soul, Rhythm & Blues. Of course you have Motown with Stevie’s “I Wish” and “Higher Ground.” You have Gamble and Huff’s “Yesterday Had the Blues,” you’ve got Isaac Hayes’ “Do Your Thing,” Aretha with “Rock Steady” and Larry Graham’s “One in a Million,” and of course you can’t do a CD with Maceo without having not just one but two songs that you’re known for with the Godfather of Soul, “Soul Power”, and of course “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, and then your song, “Come By and See.” Great line up of tunes. What went into the selection of the songs? What inspired you to choose these ones in particular?

MP: I’ll tell you how I did it. When I practice, and I don’t really call it practice, it’s just playing. I have to play just to keep my muscles and stuff up, but in a sense, it is practice. In another sense, it’s not really practice, but I play. The way I do it, I just turn on satellite music, satellite radio, and I constantly play stuff all the time, and the reason I like doing this is because it’s almost like I’m playing with other artists and different keys and tempos and all this stuff. It’s almost like an ear training too. So, I can almost hear stuff and I can walk on anywhere and I can hear because I have trained myself to do that. So, that’s the way I practice. I just turn it on and whatever they play, I play.

Somehow, I got comfortable with these particular tunes. I said, golly, if something came up, this wouldn’t be bad. I think I like playing this, and this. And all those tunes that you named went through that particular process. I played them while I practiced and just jotted them down saying this is kind of nice. Oh, I like this. (sings...) That’s about it. I just felt really comfortable with those songs and that’s how it happened.

KG: Wow, and some mighty fine musicianship from the WDR Big Band.

MP: Oh yeah, man I’m telling you, when I hear, when I’m in there in the middle of them, in front of them, and they’re playing or going over the stuff - their whole concept is it’s like a job for them as far as getting up and going to work. They get up, go to work, but their job is to go over there and play some kind of music. It’s nice. That surrounding, that whole atmosphere is really nice because that’s what it’s all about. It’s all about playing and performing some kind of music. I just feel really lucky and whatever to be where they, to say, let’s have Maceo come over and whatever he decides he wants to do, we’ll just do that with him. So, I feel really special to be one of those who come to that WDR band.

KG: Absolutely. Let’s go back to the beginning. You, your brothers, Melvin and Kellis playing with your uncle’s big band I believe down in the Carolinas, correct?

MP: No. We didn’t play with our uncle, but we started our own group.

KG: Right. The Young Blue Notes.

MP: There you go. Yeah. We just played, played, played all the time. My trombone playing brother, although he kept playing trombone, but he also went into the law profession. He got a degree from the University of North Carolina, which that was not even heard of back then, 1960. He started as a freshman in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and he ended up being professor of law at Columbia University in New York. My trombone playing brother, who is a year older than me, but then it became me, the saxophone player, and then Melvin the drummer. But, I went to A&T State University in Greensborough as a freshman and got into a little gig band there and my second year I’m there with the same little gig band to make a little money to put in your pocket to buy cheeseburgers and hamburgers or whatever, and kind of smile at the girls and offer them French fries and all that. Anyway, so my second year, and Melvin’s first year, which sort of meant he and I could not be in the same little gig band while we were in school. So, he gets into another band, and that band is made up of people from the city.

So, anyway, there are two different groups and the time that James Brown comes to town, I’m playing out of state, Melvin’s playing after hours somewhere, and James Brown is playing some other place. James’ playing first, and not ready to leave, and said, “Oh where can I go to kind of relax?” And he ended up where Mel was playing, He was there talking to the club owner and said, “I like this group. I especially like this drummer. Tell the drummer I want to meet him.”

When he did, he said, “Hi, I’m James Brown. I like the way you play. I really would like for you to play in my band, but I know you’re a student. Don’t get me wrong, now, I’m not saying stop being a student, but I am saying that if there is a time when you are not a student, and you would like to work in my band, here’s a handshake. It could be two years from now, three years from now, four, five, it doesn’t matter. I remember the handshake, and boom you’ve got a job with me.” “Oh, thank you, Mr. Brown. Sure, I’ll remember, and okay.”

So, when I came back from my little gig out of state, I check on my brother and that’s when I find out all about the James Brown stuff. Then, a year passed, another year passed, and I’m a junior now, but then we decided for some reason because we’re not going to class and stuff. We started partying and having fun, and I said you know what? We need to kind of get out of school and forget the old studious thing and come back. Okay, what are we going to do? Well, let’s see, we can get that job with James Brown. Right. Boom.

James comes to town and my brother, since he had met him before, went up there and said, “Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown.” We caught him in the parking lot at The Coliseum. “Remember me? I’m Melvin Parker. I’m the drummer. I’m not a student anymore. I’d love to have that job with you like you said.” “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah” (said JB). Then, somewhere in the conversation, (Melvin said), “Oh yeah, Mr. Brown, this is my brother. He’s a saxophone player. He needs a job too." James turns to me and says, first thing he ever said to me in life was, "do you play baritone sax?" Tenor sax was my major at that time, and I had fooled around with baritone a little bit in high school, but while he was asking me that question, something was telling me that I can’t say no. Whatever he asks me, everything has got to be affirmative. I’ve got to say yes. In other words, if he had asked me, can you play baritone standing on your head? Okay, can you play the saxophone standing on one foot? Whatever, I’ve got to say yes!
But, it ended up like this: "Do you play baritone sax?" I go, "uh, yes sir." Like that, with a long "uh" in front of it. Then he says, "do you own a baritone sax?" Then, still I go, "uh, yes sir." Then he says, "tell you what," with his hand like he wanted to shake my hand. He said, "tell you what, if you can get a baritone sax, then you can have a job too. I’ll give you two weeks, three weeks, whatever it takes," and his hand was stuck out for the handshake and I really just smiled then because I knew that handshake was that seal of approval kind of thing and later on I was thinking, I don’t know whether he, it was a mixture of if I’m somewhere, like his brother Milton that plays drums, or the fact that he answered yes to those questions anyway when it was clearly no, I’ve got to give this guy a chance. So, that’s what he did, and I really smiled because I said it and did it the right way I think.

KG: The lesson in life: Don’t say no. That’s one question I had, which was how did you get hooked up with the Godfather of Soul. But I want to back up for a moment here and talk about some of the things that influenced you, some of the folks that you had listened to. I know, let’s wheel out some names here: Fathead Newman, Hank Crawford, Cannonball Adderly, King Curtis, but let’s talk about the one person who played saxophone, and also played piano, and we talked about him earlier, brother Ray Charles.

MP: Yeah, well, you see back then with my brothers, it seemed like our concept was to try to listen and hear just about everything that was recorded. We wanted everything because it didn’t matter what genre, what flavor, whatever. country/western, smooth jazz, the R&B, blues, everything. We just wanted to hear that, just know what everybody was doing. So, as kids, when we had our little group, we’d buy stuff and say, oh man, did you hear this? Listen to this. So, that’s what we did.

But, with me, and watching stuff on TV, I justt notice how, with the big bands, it seemed like the saxophone player would always come from behind those stands and play a little solo and go back. I always thought that was cool, he’s a guitar player or saxophone player. I thought, boy that’s kind of nice. Because, I actually started playing, my first instrument really was piano, but then I remember being – I’m talking about early years, like five, six, seven, eight years old. But, I remember witnessing my first parade, being really excited about the marching band and I can’t wait to be old enough to be in one with all this fanfare, this hoopla, and the cute little majorettes and all that, man, please? Are you kidding me? So, I’m looking for the piano. No piano? Man, I’ve got to choose a marching band instrument. Okay? Well maybe I’ll choose one of those things.

The saxophone line was passing by and I chose saxophone that way, but then from listening to all music, I just noticed that there’s a lot of saxophone solos, so I was thinking, it’d be nice to be like that. Somebody else can sing, and I can just be the guy doing the sax solos. Then, as you would have it, somehow Ray Charles stuff always stayed at the top of the stack of albums that we had. I played that stuff, and played that stuff, and listened to it and played it, Johnny Mathis, and everybody. But, I really got into Ray Charles not knowing that I’d kind of grow up and develop a voice that I could almost kind of sing like him a little bit. As it would happen, that’s what happened.

But yeah, I dug David Newman like you said, Leroy Cooper played baritone, Hank Crawford played alto, and then there was other guys like Stanley Turrentine. In fact, I got to a point where I just said, everybody that played. I listened to a lot of trumpet players, and I was into Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard. I was really really into those guys because it was like a positive thing with everybody. I met Cannonball and Nat Adderly a couple times. It’s like wow. To me, it’s sort of like a fraternity kind of thing. Like, we are, they are, musicians, and we play. Some play, some don’t.

We play, and so that was like enough for me to, a positive kind of thing for me to soul search myself to a point where, because I was at - well, how do you get established? I looked up in the sky once and I saw a sky full of stars. The whole sky full of stars, and then I said to myself, you know what? If I look and turn away and look again, if there’s one more star up there, you can’t tell it because it seems like there’s always room for one more. I started thinking of that particular picture of being noticed, being heard, being discovered, and somehow before I’m 20 years old, I had a concept of that’s a possibility for me. I think I can be heard because I think there’s, I feel there’s something inside me that’s longing to be heard and it was a positive thing that I just felt that I would be heard sooner or later by somebody.

I also got to a point where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a music educator, a music instructor, a music teacher. I got to a point where I wanted to, from tunes like "Night in Tunisia" and "April in Paris," and different places out of the country. I kind of, I’d love to do that. I’d love to travel the world and be able to play and I never thought it would be at this magnitude where I really do travel all over the world and my name is on the marquee and all that. I never thought it would be that big, but I thought maybe it would happen, but I would always be in somebody’s group probably. Then, the thing hit me that you know what? I think I can have my own group too. I think I can do that. It all sort of unfolded for me and allowed me to do interviews like now.

KG: 1965, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, if we flipped over the 45, we heard James say, “Come on, see what you know, I want you to blow, Maceo”. That, to me, was like the first time we ever heard your name. What was that like?

MP: Well, let me just give you to whole premise to that thing. I was actually hired, like I said earlier, as a baritone sax player and so I’m on the stage doing the shows early on, but I brought my tenor with me, which is my major instrument, my tenor sax was the solo saxophone, and something happened with the guy who played the sax solos. He got sick and had to be away for a while and I remember James being a bit all excited about, got to get somebody to, got to hire somebody to do these solos. That’s when I kind of stepped up and said (to JB), “You know what, Mr. Brown? I can play those solos on these songs.” (JB replies) “Oh, you can?” “That’s really what I do.” “Oh, you do?” Oh, okay. Boom! So, he gave me a chance to do that and he liked the way I did it to a point where he said, “You know what? I’d like for you to play from here on out. You play the solo on this, and that, and this, and that. And tell the other guy to play the rest." And then he said, "Now, that means that you’re both going to have double duty. You’re going to have to play some tenor and some baritones. He’s going to be playing some tenors and when you’re playing tenor, he’s playing baritone. So, you’re both going to be doing double duty.”(I said)“Oh okay, that’s fine.”

So, that went on like that for a while. But, back then, and like probably always, any time James got an idea, he would want to record, go to the nearest recording studio and record it. That way, he wouldn’t forget what it is he’s thinking about. That’s what happened with “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”. We rented the studio, and were recording it and a lot of times he’s like, he keeps first takes and if you heard that old stuff, you hear mistakes and one song you hear him say start it over and then he kept going and all that.

Anyway, while we’re doing “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, like you said, then he thought about, uh oh, I didn’t assign, I didn’t tell which one is going to be doing the solo. While he’s thinking, and singing at the same time, come on blow your horn, clap your hands, whatever you do, and then he said, oh okay, so I’ll just get Maceo to do it. He came up with the lyrics, like you said, just a few minutes ago. And I don’t know whether it was because of the fact that he just liked the way I played anyway, or my name being Maceo sort of rhymed, blow, oh, Maceo, that kind of thing. That’s the way he did it and that’s the way it came out. That really was the beginning that sort of launched my career.

KG: And it almost was like a cue for you to step up and do your thing and you’ve done so many records with JB, “Out of Sight”, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, and of course “Cold Sweat” two years later in 1967. Then in 1970 you did something pretty brave - you left the band! You formed your own group, Maceo and the Macks, Maceo and the All-stars. Why did you do that?

MP: Well, I had gotten to a point I personally had gotten to a point where I just felt like, for whatever reasons, I wanted to try something else. We had started looking at working with James Brown had been like being in school or working with him is sort of like being at a higher learning, in other words, institutions is going to always be there and if you leave, you can always come back for whatever reasons because James Brown is established. He’s always going to be James Brown. He’s always going to be there. So, if you go away, you can always come back.

I had gotten to a point where I wanted to leave and go away, but I wanted to do it on my own. I wanted to do it singly and when the guys found out about it, when I told them, you know what man? I think I’m going to try something else. They said, “I don’t know if I want to be here if you’re not here.” I said, "No, no, no. I’m not saying, no, no, I want it to be documented that I’m leaving on my own. I don’t want it to look like I’m taking the band from him." But they said, “Yeah, but you’re not hearing us. If you’re not here, we don’t want to be here either.” So, that’s the way it went down. So, somehow, we left as a group and we ran into, this guy was living in Augusta, Georgia. His name was Jimmy Smith, but not the famous Jimmy Smith the organ player. This is another guy who was one of the managers for James for a while. He called somebody and I heard him on the phone. He said, "Man, you’re not going to believe this, but James’ band just left him. They just quit him." The guy must have said, "You mean all of them?" He said yeah. And I heard the man say, "Yeah, all the king’s horses, all the king’s men." I said, "My goodness. That’s a good name." We’re just going to hang around and try some stuff. So, it ended up being Maceo and All the King’s Men.

KG: And then, just when folk’s least expected it, after a couple of albums as Maceo and All the King’s Men, you went back to JB.

MP: Yeah, well, he told us verbally - he stood there with both his hands on his hips and verbally said, “You’re not going to make it because I’m going to use all my powers and all my strength and all my money to make sure you guys don’t make it. You might as well come on back. It’s not going to work. “(KG’s note – JB “shut down” Maceo & All the King’s Men by convincing the R&B stations not to play their recordings). But we were performing. We had responsibilities back then, but we were having big fun just going places and laughing and joking, and in less than about a year and a half or two years. We ended up being (the supporting) band (for) Johnnie Taylor. That was a lot of fun too. A lot of people didn’t know that. We would come out in the beginning and do our little thing, do our James Brown songs and whatever, stuff that we’d made up. And then play Johnny Taylor tunes and I’m telling you, man, this guy was great. He was really great, but I knew that that wouldn’t last. And then in ’73 or ’74, one of them, when I got back with James.

KG: Yeah, and something interesting that happened, Maceo, is that when you had left with all the king’s men, that’s when a brother by the name of William "Bootsy" Collins and his brother, Catfish, joined the JB’s and then when you came back, they left and joined George Clinton. Then you hopped on board the Mothership as well. What was that like working with George Clinton?

MP: Man, I’m telling you, kind of like night and day from what I was sort of used to. You talk about fun? Good Lord! Fun and crazy at the same time, but it was an experience. Here I am in a situation now where we always try to see if we can be color coordinated or concept coordinated or something. Come to find out, George’s concept was you don’t have to be coordinated. A lot of things like that, like everybody’s got to be matching and that was like a throwback for me. I said, “Wait a minute? I’m into western movies and I like it when the Native Americans win. Would it be okay if I wear something like Native Americans wear?” "Oh yeah, that’s fine." Another guy says, “Well, I’m into train engineers. I want to wear something like that.” "Yeah, that’s fine." I’m going "What?" Another guy says, “You know what, man? My feet hurt. I really don’t believe it wearing shoes and blah blah blah. You think it’d be okay if I don’t wear any shoes at all?” "Yeah, that’s cool man." I’m going "What?" That’s the way it was.

Not only that, the stuff that he’d say, those lyrics and stuff were a whole lot different from what I was used to. George would say, kids are going to hear that stuff as they grow up, hear it out on the street anyway, so they might as well hear it from me. That’s what it is.

Another one of his concepts was, he and we and everybody with him was from outer space and our mission was to come down and show you earthlings really how to funk, and what the funk was all about and stuff like that. So, I guess he felt like he could get away with stuff that way because I don’t know anything about all these different concepts. We’re from outer space. We don’t know about that, nor do we care. It was a lot of fun, man, especially when that spaceship landed on stage. The excitement and all that people would go through after the spaceship landed on stage was the same as when James Brown was 31, 32 years old, really young and really fast and could do all those splits and turns and all that stuff and people would be in awe, it was the exact same way.

KG: It’s all about taking the showmanship up to the next level. Whether it was James Brown on the now famous T.A.M.I. Show concert movie from 1964 where he practically annihilated everyone including the top billing act, The Rolling Stones to the 1970s. I remember seeing the Mothership land when I was a 12, 13 year old kid when you all came through Rochester, New York with the Parliament/Funkadelic Tour. My mother thought I’d lost my dang mind, but that’s beside the point.

I want to fast forward, Maceo, to 1990 when you released, when you started releasing your solo albums. You released 3 killer albums in a row. ROOTS REVISITED, MO’ ROOTS, and the excellent LIVE ON PLANET GROOVE, which drew the attention of college kids during that time. That must have been a great time in the early 90’s because I worked in record retail and seeing these young kids come in and say, "Wow, do you have the new one from this sax guy named Maceo?" "Over here, kid!" It’s like seeing these younger folks digging this stuff. What was that like having practically a whole new audience?

MP: I don’t know, man. It’s all new so it hadn’t even hit. I had no idea. The only thing I knew was in Colorado, just to pick one state, I knew that for some reason, in the state of Colorado, we could play somewhere almost every week, somewhere in Colorado. We really could at one time. I thought, what is going on with these college kids? But, that’s what was happening in Colorado anyway. Somebody just adopted me for some reason. I never worked actually with Bootsy, with James Brown, but he did [singing] and then James thought, you know what? Maybe I’ll take my voice off and then put Maceo’s saxophone there and call it Soul Power ’74. That was really big. I remember in New York, it came to number two I think. I’m sure it did.

KG: I’m sure, it was a top seller here in New York, absolutely.

MP: Yeah, that was a big one. Soul Power 74 was a really big one and then I sort of pulled back a little bit and look at that, I said, golly, that’s Bootsy playing and all those other guys, like you said, but they had already recorded it. I wasn’t in the studio with them, but it was kind of like, okay. Then, that’s when I started getting all those things about - Wow, you know what? If I make the right decisions, and make the right choices or whatever, I can have my own thing. I can do my own thing. That’s what I did. First of all, at some point, you have to recognize that there’s a possibility that you can, but you got to make it work. You’ve got to find a way to make it work, and that’s what I did.

KG: Well, you did so well in the early 90’s with those three albums. It was like bam, bam, bam, right in a row. You just kept it coming, Maceo and then came albums like FUNK OVERLOAD, then DIAL MACEO, which you featured some mighty fine musicians here - home girl from my area of upstate New York, Ani DiFranco as well as folk man James Taylor and the purple wonder, we talked about him earlier, Prince. Now, what was it like working with these folks? Particularly Prince because I know you went on and toured with him as well.

MP: Yeah, let me say a little bit about Ani first. I’m opening for her, I never even knew who she was, and my manager said, “Okay, we’re opening for somebody named Ani DiFranco”. Okay, fine. So, I’m doing the show. We’re doing whatever, my little concert how I think it ought to go and the way stuff ought to be and I noticed this little person dancing in the wings at the side of the stage. I keep looking at the clock, and somebody says, yeah, that’s Ani. Oh, it is? It’s ten minutes before she’s supposed to work it and she’s still there. This would happen all the time. I said, wait a minute? Now, that’s unusual. Somebody’s sitting in front of the mirror, or going lalala, drinking some water, or whatever it is, in the dressing room doing personal stuff. She’s in the wings every time dancing to the music. I said, this person has got to be special, special to me, because that’s unheard of. The next act person getting ready to come on, but it makes you feel important to be - she doesn’t want to miss anything of what we’re doing. So, she just ran into my heart just from that. Like, my family, just from that. She ran to the sister thing just from that. Around to today, it’s kind of like family.

But now, when you speak of Mr. Purple Rain, he really doesn’t like to be talked about or discussed or whatever in interviews. He really, really doesn’t and I tell him I limit stuff. To be heard and to a point where I worked with him every now and then, is like, it’s almost like a Godsend to me because I really think of him and see him and view him as a genius, I really do. Now, I’ve told him that once before. He doesn’t like me to say that, but I do. If you look at his track record, all the stuff, and all the different genres, and different kinds of music he can come up with and all the different stuff that he plays, and all the different stuff that he’s involved in, like doing the performance, the lighting, the setting, the this and the that, the music, the whole nine yards, he’s top notch in everything. To me, that’s genius. He says, oh come on, man. Having said all that, pretty much other than I love him, a really deep love, other than that, there’s really not too much I can say other than that.

KG: There you go. Well, your first album with the WDR Big Band was ROOTS AND GROOVES, now we’ve got SOUL CLASSICS. I want to just also talk about the rhythm section here of Christian McBride and Cora Coleman-Dunham. What a great rhythm section you had there. What was it like working with those folks?

MP: Well, it’s kind of like that family thing again because we’ve done stuff before. She worked with Prince while I was there for a while. I’ve done some things with him in and out. So, when you’ve worked with people, and it turns out to be more than once and more than three times, or four times, I’m telling you, man, it really starts to be that family kind of thing. It really does. It’s a little bit more than just calling a name. Something else happens. Something else magically happens that you can really get close to people and where you almost can’t verbally say how it is, but you smile because you have that feeling because you know what it is. You know how it feels to be like that. These people are like that. Somebody else, I don’t know if you know, ever heard of Candy Dulfer.

KG: Of course!

MP: Same thing with her. It’s a family kind of a feeling that you get attached to other artists like that, and once it’s there, it can never be broken. It’s just there to a point where I’m going to be doing something with Christian next month, working with his big band. Like I said, it just goes on and on and on and on. I’ll be doing something with Fred and his band later on, if it materializes, he’s a little bit under the weather right now. Hopefully, he’ll be a little stronger and get out of it. Pee Wee (Ellis) had a project going called “Still Black, Still Proud”, and I was part of that the early part of the year, the later part of last year. Something like that. Both of them came to... we went to Spain, I believe it was, or Brazil. They were with me, Fred and Pee Wee. I think it was Spain. The ping pong balls keep bouncing around, and bouncing around and you never know how it’s going to end up, but it’s all good and it’s all positive and it’s all family.

KG: That’s what it’s all about, Maceo, absolutely. Before we sign off, I do want to congratulate you. You earned two high honors in Europe. One was the Icon Award at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam and the Les Victoires du Juno in Paris. Congratulations.

MP: Thank you. There’s a great big bold face L-O-V-E in there to because I got to a point where I really love performing. I really love being on the stage and equally to that is I love people. I just am. I’m just one of those, where I almost can’t watch the new kind of thing, especially bad news because I get really affected (by viewing that). Maybe that has something to do with what I feel when I play ballads because you play those ballads, ballads are really sweet and all that. Anyway, there’s a tremendous amount of love in there with all these, when I say that family feeling. That keeps me going. That really keeps me going and probably everybody else too because I kind of look at B.B. King to and say golly, so what? You pull out a chair and sit down and you play. But, still playing, why? Because you love it. I mean you love doing what you do. Respect the fact that people have embraced you in all these years and appreciate what you’ve done and what you are doing. So, you try to do it as long and as much as you possibly can because you love doing it and you know you’re giving the people something. You’re entertaining people, but you’ll hear me say more than once during my special performances, during my shows, on behalf of all of us, always remember we love you. I say that all the time throughout my show because I think people can appreciate when they know that you really care about them and that’s what I do.

KG: There you go. Do what you love and love what you do. That’s what you share with everybody. That’s what it’s all about. Maceo Parker, brand new album, SOUL CLASSICS, recorded with the WDR Big Band. Michael Abene, the conductor and the arranger, Maceo with Christian McBride on bass, Cora Coleman-Dunham on drums. Joining us this time on SoulMusic.com. Maceo, thank you so much for being with us today.

MP: It’s a pleasure, man. Thank you.

KG: You’re very welcome. God bless you and we hope to catch you on the next tour, okay?

MP: Hey, thanks again.

KG: You got it.


About the Writer
Kevin Goins aka “The Soul Ninja” is a veteran of the radio and recording industries, has authored liner notes for CD collections by Earth Wind & Fire, Melba Moore and Stacy Lattisaw. He's also the producer/host of the Internet radio interview series "Soulful Conversations" as well as a classic R&B show "The Kevin Goins Soul Experience".
  
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