Maceo Parker brings his funky groove to Flatbread

Funk master Maceo Parker brings his dance sounds to Flatbread Friday August 2. — Photo by Ines Kaiser

Put on your dancing shoes. Funk master saxophonist Maceo Parker and his band are coming to Flatbread Co., at the airport in Edgartown on Friday, August 2.

Mr. Parker is a living legend who earned his fame while developing his signature riffs with James Brown in the 1960s, and the Parliament-Funkadelic in the 1970s. His own band carries on the funk tradition with a mix of jazz and hip-hop.

“We’re coming and we’re bringing all the funk in the world,” Mr. Parker said in a phone conversation with The Times from his home in Kinston, N.C. “We play 2 percent jazz and 98 percent funk. We have been hangin’ out on the funk side such a long time people call the band ‘the tightest little funk orchestra on earth,'”

Made up mostly of musicians who have played together for years, the band includes his nephew, a drummer, the son of his brother who once played trumpet with Mr. Parker, who tries to make room for younger musicians.

He said he likes to see people enjoy themselves: “Playing music is great. People want to be there and they aren’t on different sides, on different teams. We’re all on the same page… We just want to spread the love. If there is one message we have, it’s, ‘We love you.'”

Mr. Parker once described working with James Brown as “like being at university.” If that is the case, then he did his graduate work with George Clinton and now conducts his own post-doc program with his all-star band.

He appears, as his schedule allows, on tour with Prince, and he has collaborated over the years with many top artists, including Ray Charles, Ani DiFranco, James Taylor, De La Soul, Dave Matthews Band, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

For the last two decades Mr. Parker has had a blistering solo career, building his own funk empire. His music is both fresh and stylistically diverse and always danceable. He navigates deftly between James Brown’s 1960s soul and George Clinton’s 1970s freaky funk music he was an integral part of creating.

He has garnered a fresh young fan base as he has successfully maintained the link between the seminal sounds of the 60s and 70s and the multicultural mix of today’s pop sounds.

Mr. Parker heads to France after his Vineyard date then back to the U.S. He will spend most of the fall touring Europe.

This Flatbread show is produced by the production company Nectar’s Presents. Their upcoming shows at Flatbread include the reggae group Morgan Heritage on August 7; Jamaican musician Beres Hammond’s One Love One Life Tour on August 12 featuring Harmony House Musicians & DJ Inferno; and on August 24, the folk, country, rock band, The Felice Brothers.

Friday, August 2, An Evening with Maceo Parker, Flatbread Company, 17 Airport Road, Edgartown. Doors open at 9 pm, 21+ event. Tickets ($47; $42 in advance) are available on, at Alley’s General Store, West Tisbury; The Green Room, Vineyard Haven; aboveground Records, Edgartown; Corner Five, Oak Bluffs; and at Flatbread, day of show. For more information, call 508-693-1137.