June 2006

Maceo Parker
at the Toronto Jazz Festival
June 28, 2006Main StageToronto
To Be Or Not To Be Funky!
by Sue Bullas with photos by Roger Humbert
The hardest working man in music has been replaced and I was there! Maceo Parker and his band played an amazing two-hour show and then played a 45 minute encore shocking organizers and fans alike. He plays the sax like no one I’ve heard and can work a crowd like James Brown but doesn’t drown us in hype-only funk.

The rain was coming down in sheets and made us all a little nervous or damp depending on your location during the 40 minutes in between the opening act The Dexters and Maceo. The entrance of Maceo Parker and his band distracted us all, quickly drowning out the roar of the rain.

Ron Tooley is a silver tongued devil. I have never heard such sharp execution of notes. He was a pleasure to watch, saluting us with his horn as he came up on stage and egging on the dancers to his left throughout the show. He has set the bar high for all other trumpet players I’ll hear from this point on.

Greg Boyer is a fabulous trombone player. The sharpest dresser of the group and that’s saying a lot. How he played with that nice fitted jacket I’ll never know. Listening to these three gents play together is what gets you on your feet.

Corey Parker is a great rapper as well as a backup singer. He’s definitely got the funk and he’s the only guy without a tie. Martha High adds that female element that a great group needs. Her voice booms through the tent proving funk isn’t just for the boys.

Bruno Speight, when he was not playing brilliantly, spent most of the night trying to make Will Boulware smile. Boulware plays the funk but you’ll never see in his face that he’s funky. Rodney ‘Skeet’ Curtis keeps the backbone of this group strong.

Maceo Parker & Will Boulware
Maceo’s rendition of Ray Charles’ "Georgia" stands out as a highlight as does the dynamic duo of Maceo and the drummer Jamal Thomas jamming together. Thomas never stops smiling. The two seem to share something special as Maceo plays with Thomas’ chimes and cymbals.

Great showmen can work a crowd but the crowd and the band were working each other under the big top in the rain Wednesday night. I have only seen this symbiotic relationship between the band and the crowd at one other concert in my life. We both just kept feeding off each other, going and going.

I’ve got funk to spare from this experience.

Maceo Parker & adoring fans
We welcome your comments and feedback
Sue Bullas
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Roger Humbert
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The Live Music Report

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