Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Roving Pittsburgher Report, Techno Granny Funks out with Maceo Parker

Maceo Parker, best known as the saxophone soul of James Brown's band managed to pump up an otherwise ordinary Sunday evening at the Byham Theatre on Sunday, January 16, 2011.  This 67 year old featured his own band with funkadyllic music that had everyone bobbing in the seats to the music. The audience could probably best be described as a sea of rhythm and blues bobble heads, keeping time to this “happy” music with various parts of their bodies. Before the concert started I commented to the stranger sitting next to me that the hardest thing about the concert was going to be staying seated and that proved to be true.

Parker started working in 1964 with the Godfather of Soul, adding a major part to that band's style. In the 1970s, he also worked with Bootsy Collins, George Clinton and various incarnations of Parliament Funkadelic. Every performer is a conglomerate of all of his past influences.  It’s easy to see all of these rolled into the unique funky style of this 67 year old marathon entertainer.  He never took a break in over two and a half hours, the band did and Maceo walked off the stage for about 60 seconds nearing the end of the concert.

Catching one of the alto sax maestro's marathon three-hour shows is a truly soul and sound feeding experience.   No matter if you are a fan of funk, jazz, hip-hop, R&B or soul, his performances are will surprise and elevate your mood to the transcendent and you will have a funky good time.

His show on Sunday had Two themes:  “We Gonna Make it Funky” and “We Love You.”
I must admit I did not hide a sigh when he broke out with the Maceo Parker version of - “My Love Does It Good” by Paul Mc Cartney and was wishing I had brought a real date instead of just a male friend.  Heads went down on shoulders all over the theatre and there was some serious cuddling happening.
Fortunately for this single gal, he got back to some serious funk immediately after that.  I could not keep up with watching all of the musicians and singers all first class and just can’t mention them all.  My personal fans:   Maceo’s James Brown Diva belting out half gospel, half R & B and his hip hop singer.  For anyone who loves the brassy sound of R &B, you will not be disappointed.  Trombonist Dennis Rollins from London, England sounds and looks like he’s  ready to break out with a musical epiphany  at any minute even when he was just doing his choreographed moves to the music.  No denouement to this concert, there were so many surprises at the end.

After an hour and a half, audience could not stay in their seats and migrated to the front of the stage and the aisles to dance.  But Maceo was not done on this funky entertainment roller coaster ride.  He serenaded the audience with his Western concert flute, his nephew Maceo Parker played drums blindfolded.

Also a surprise to this fan was the transcendence of generation with college students, gen-xers and baby boomers all funking out at the same time in the Byham.  The audience left in a flurry of conversations with the strangers next to you and a feeling that this performer is truly a musical diplomat.  Maceo Parker spreads not just funk music  but inner peace and love.

Roving Pittsburgher Report by Joanne Quinn-Smith aka, the TechnoGranny, publisher of
She is the host of PositivelyPittsburghLive, a syndicated Pittsburgh Internet Radio Show, every Monday on the Internet from 7 to 8 PM EDT.  She also hosts the TechnoGrannyShow, Mondays from 10 AM to 10:30 AM EDT and is the Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates.  Find all of her shows including RovingPittsburgher TV at:

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