Ani DiFranco with Maceo Parker

"The double bill seemed disparate at first: Funk Saxophonist Maceo Parker sharing the stage with folkie feminist Ani DiFranco? Ah, but that's how memorable nights of music are made. The two artists had lots in common actually: they are both ground breakers - Parker for his seminal work with James Brown and George Clinton, DiFranco for her unique sound and leading role as independent record label owner. More to the point they both believe in the unmitigated joy and freedom of the funk, not funk as a musical style per se - though Parker wrote the book on that one- but funk as a rallying cry, as a way to unleash human potential; recognize the problem, deal with it then bump it out the door with a swift shake of the hips.

...he didn't just play songs he played a set of interconnecting grooves where tunes flowed into one another like a deep eddying river of funk... His stage introduction "Come on Maceo" with every syllable pulled stretched and repeated until his name became synonymous with funk... each parlance was a variation on one big message: give in to the uplifting power of music. His blowing was timelessly on target, with a leanness of thought that was the reduced essence of bebop laid over the skeletal structure of rhythm and blues... DiFranco and Parker acted like kids and chipped away at the notion of musical boundaries..."


Commercial Appeal Memphis
March 1999