Maceo PARKER – Dial Maceo 2000

Maceo PARKER – Dial Maceo 2000
2000

Jazz

Principally recorded at Dan’s House Of Love, New York, New York in September 1999; Paisley Park Studios, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Includes liner notes by Maceo Parker.

While James Brown spent most of the ’80s and ’90s dealing with the law, former JB Maceo Parker was busy preaching the funk gospel, tearing it up on the road and in the studio. On 2000’s DIAL MACEO, Parker puts together another solid collection of songs highlighted by his awe-inspiring sax chops. The former P-Funk-ateer’s musical range spans smooth R&B covers (Roberta Flack’s “Closer I Get to You”), brassy, Phish-like jaunts (“My Baby Loves You”), and even Brazilian-flavored cocktail music (“Latin Like”).

Parker’s prowess on flute, showcased on a scorching Isley Brothers cover (“I’ve Got Work to Do”) and on a sinewy soul-jazz original (“Simply Tooley”), are equally impressive. Longtime admirer Prince lends the flatly delivered hip-hop-flavored jam “The Greatest Romance Ever Sold” (originally released on the Purple One’s RAVE UN2 THE JOY FANTASTIC) and “Baby Knows.” The latter, a nugget with a Revolution-era sound, features Sheryl Crow on harmonica. Parker’s son Corey joins forces with his father on “Black Widow,” adding a slow-rolling rap to a number accentuated by Maceo’s acid-jazz flute and a bed of dark, Goldie-like beats.

Dial:M-A-C-E-O, Parker is hotter than ever offering his signature sax sounds with contemporary arrangements. Moreover, dial:M-A-C-E-O features guest artists Ani DiFranco and James Taylor.
**
The artist universally known as Maceo meets the Artist Formerly Known as Prince on this new star-studded venture also featuring Ani DiFranco and Sheryl Crow. Mostly, it’s the stuff Maceo does best: mid- to uptempo funk grooves that test the alto saxophonist’s sharp, rhythmic approach and lift him miles above his imitators. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering his own very ascetically produced sound, Prince’s “Greatest Romance Ever Sold” isn’t the most successful moment on the album. His postmodern pop doesn’t suit Maceo’s gutsy, natural sound the way James Brown or Bootsy Collins could. Nor does the three-way partnership with Crow on the rock-style “Baby Knows” offer the saxophonist much of an opportunity to dig dirt. But “Simply Tooley”–a horn-heavy return to something like the P-Funk sound–and “Rabbits in the Pea Patch” are two of Maceo’s best tracks in years.
By Linton Chiswick.
**
First of all, Maceo Parker is a relatively unsung hero of funk. A lot of people can remember, “Hit me Maceo!”, but few completely grasp how pervasive his sound as a multidecade dealer of the Funk. Maceo’s work with Parliament as a member of the Horny Horns is a key contribution, and his work with the JBS, a spinoff of James Brown’s stuff is essential as well. As a solo artist, Maceo’s music is more relevant to what’s happening in funk then James Brown now that he’s lost his core collaborators and can’t dance as well.
Maceo’s solo work starts with seeing a live show! If you have a chance to spend $19 on this album or spend $60 bucks to see him live, see the man live!!! Maceo live is one of the greatest funk acts around. After you’ve seen a live show, you probably want to dig one of his solo albums, and “Life On Planet Groove” is definitely the place to start.

And now we’re left with Dial M A C E O. “Dial” is Maceo trying to move to the mainstream and broaden his appeal from overseas adulation and hard core funkateers in the states. The result is cleaner more produced horn sound, some smoother funk work and a laundry list of collaborations that don’t really work for me. This album to me is like a lesser version of “Funk Overload”, which I believe was the album immediately preceding it. You get some funk covers like the Isley’s “Work to Do”, one of my favorite tracks on the album. You get a novelty funk tune in “Rabbits in a Pea Patch.” And you get some smooth Maceo on flute, [not too much flute on Funk Overload, though]. The big change is the Prince covers and I agree with other reviewers; covering Prince stuff is not really Maceo’s bag or why I’m into Maceo. Likewise, it’s nice that he’s trying to bring his son along for the ride as a rapper, but Corey is not a viable solo artist as a rapper and the rhymes don’t really add much to the sound.

Personally, I’d give this one two and a half stars and recommend it only to Maceo completists. If you dig Maceo, “Life On Planet Groove” first, than the Roots series of albums if you want his jazzier side, “Funk Overload” if you want the more produced.

Last thing for Maceo fans; check out my other review of Fred Wesley’s memoirs “Hit Me Fred” for some perspective on post James Brown/post Parliament JB horns alums. I agree with Fred Wesley that the dissolving of the JB Horns and the resulting Maceo as pure solo artist has not been the best thing for the Funk.

Maceo’s still a badass, but he’s done a lot better work than this.
By SD.
**
Maceo Parker- (Vocals, Alto Sax, Flute, Piano);
Prince- (Vocals, Various Instruments);
Ani DiFranco- (Vocals, Guitar);
James Taylor, Corey Parker, “Sweet” Charles Sherrell- (Vocals);
Vincent Henry- (Tenor Sax);
Ron Tooley- (Trumpet, Flugelhorn);
Bennie Cowan- (Trumpet);
Greg Boyer- (Trombone);
Sheryl Crow- (Harmonica, Background Vocals);
Will Boulware- (Hammond Organ, Synthesizer);
Bruno Speight- (Guitar);
Rodney “Skeet” Curtis- (Bass);
Jamal Thomas, Michael Bland- (Drums);
Kevin Hupp- (Percussion);
Diann Sorrell, Audrey Martells, Corey Parker- (Background Vocals).
**
01.Dial MACEO 0:22
02.Rabbits In The Pea Patch 5:10
03.My Baby Loves You 3:21
04.I’ve Got Work To Do 4:02
05.Greatest Romance Ever Sold 5:38
06.Black Widow 4:56
07.Coin Toss 2:55
08.Simple Tooley 4:29
09.Latin Like 4:40
10.The Closer I Get To You 5:28
11.My Love 4:06
12.Homeboy 5:48
**


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