Forever renowned for his blistering responses to James Brown's sweat-soaked exhortations to BLOW!, saxophonist Maceo Parker played a key role in laying the foundation for modern funk. During several stints with the Godfather of Soul, Parker's incendiary sax ignited the wicked grooves on such classics as "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and "Cold Sweat," playing with preposterous percussive punch that he carried over into seminal sessions with the P-Funk network and subsequent solo work. Parker's got a brand new album called Roots & Grooves (Heads Up International) and it's a classic from the first note. A collaboration with Germany's delightfully agile WDR Big Band, R&G's first disc is a tribute to prime Parker influence Ray Charles; its second is a ferocious funk workout with the WDR matching Parker's pace with sinewy, deftly arranged big-band blasts. On Charles classics like "Georgia on My Mind" and "What'd I Say," Parker's soulful voice sounds so much like Brother Ray's, you can almost feel a grinning, swaying ghostly presence. The WDR stayed home for this tour, but Parker should have his usual outfit along for a wild ride.
March 2-3, 7 & 9:30 p.m., 2008