A musical legend will close out the Homegrown Music Fest at the N.C. State Fair this Sunday night. Maceo Parker is a saxophonist whose music is described as 2 percent jazz and 98 percent “funky stuff.” And, longtime James Brown fans might remember Parker being called out in Brown’s songs with “Maceo, blow your horn.”
For more than 40 years, Parker has had the opportunity to “blow his horn” for music icons like George Clinton and Prince. He has also made guest appearances on songs such as “What Would You Say” for the Dave Matthews band and on De La Soul’s album Buhloone Mindstate. He also played on Jane’s Addiction’s track, “My Cat’s Name Is Maceo.”
Kinston-born and bred, Parker is a state treasure. He was inducted into the N.C. Music Hall of Fame in 2011, and this past May he received the N.C. Heritage Award. We caught up with Parker and asked him a few questions about what it means to be from North Carolina and what we can expect from his show Sunday night.
- What is your favorite thing about North Carolina?
“Having room to move around. I love people but I don’t like to be crowded. I like being on stage and entertaining. But I hate it when I have to sit through a traffic light more than one time. Being from North Carolina, and a town like Kinston, means that there is a little more space and it’s a little less crowded. I am lucky enough to still have my mom and family in Kinston. My wife, who is from New York, took a little while to get settled, but she loves it here, too. And I am glad my children were raised here.”
- How did you get started in music?
“My mother and father were involved in the church choir at Saint Peter’s Disciples in Kinston and my uncle played in a gig band called the Blue Notes. Music has been an important part of my life since day one. My early start would be with church and then being around my uncle.”
- Who is your musical idol?
“I love music, so well, every one who performs and records. There is no boundaries between music for me, I am fascinated by all music, instruments and sounds. If I had to name a person, Ray Charles would be somewhere near the top. But also, Johnny Mathis, Aretha, Nat King Cole and his daughters, and Motown in general.”
- What can we expect for Sunday’s show?”
A mixture of James Brown, Prince, Ray Charles, George Clinton with some Maceo mixed in. The show is all about love. Be sure to include a boldface love.“
An Evening with Maceo Parker is Sunday night in Dorton Arena. The show starts 7:30. Tickets are free. Floor seating for Dorton Arena concerts is free, but reserved/ticketed. Tickets may be picked up at the glass Ticket Booth on the north side of Dorton Arena the day of the concert. There is a six-ticket limit per person. Ticket booth hours are 9 a.m.-7:45 p.m. Permanent riser seating is first-come, first-served and does not require a ticket.
“Be sure to include a boldface love.”