COMPOSERS: Maceo Parker
WORKS: A Tribute to Ray Charles – Live in Leverkusen
PERFORMER: Maceo Parker (sax); WDR Big Band Cologne/Michael Abene
CATALOGUE NO: DVD08
The sharp-suited soul jazz saxophonist Maceo Parker and his regular band are a worldwide fixture at jazz festivals, where – in addition to repertoire from his former bandleader, the ‘godfather of soul’ James Brown – he plays tribute to the late R ‘n’ B legend Ray Charles, who he’d admired since childhood.
Following 2007’s disc Roots and Grooves, where Parker recorded Charles’s output with lavish WDR Big Band Cologne arrangements by Michael Abene, this DVD is taken from a tour the next year with that band. Here, Charles’s tracks get inflated with swinging big band riffs – set over Hammond-grooves with bluesy guitar.
You may miss the larger-than-life bass presence of Parker’s regular electric bassist Rodney ‘Skeet’ Curtis, but the concert footage won’t disappoint, as Parker engages his audience – on alto sax, on piano, and on vocals – while the big band dazzles. Neil McKim