Toronto Jazz Festival – Maceo Parker, Sound Academy, June 20

Maceo Parker funking it up - picture by Mark

Mark’s Review

Toronto – What more can be said of Mr. Maceo Parker, the funktastic sax who played with James Brown for so many years? To say that this show was dripping with sweet funk would be an understatement. This show was pure dance party funk from start to finish, and the crowd couldn’t get enough of it.

As one friend stated, “there was a lot of confidence on that stage”. This was certainly the case. Maceo has assembled himself a super tight funk orchestra that knows how to rock like nobody’s business. It’s a very well put together sound, and you know that they know that they know it. They wore suits, and they came, and they threw down, and there was merriment.

It’s too bad that such a great show had to happen at the Docks (sorry, the Sound Academy). The sound was a little muddy at the beginning. Fortunately adjustments were made and the band came into balance after a few songs. Then it was just pure funk energy for two solid hours. I was hoping for a couple more Ray Charles tunes, but I was really glad to hear a bit of “Georgia on My Mind” on flute, and “You Don’t Know Me” during the encore.

The Sound Academy still sucks though. The acoustics are still bad. There are TV’s showing live feeds of the show all around the room. I suppose you can make an argument that then people who are farther from the stage can see what’s going on, but in my opinion it takes away from the actual musicians on stage. Who is going to face away from the band and watch the TV’s at the back of the room?

Sound issues aside, I don’t think the Docks/Sound Academy can ever really truly succeed as a great venue because of its location. It’s just too much of a hassle to get way out there, and then getting back is always difficult as cab’s take advantage of the location to extort the concert goers.

So all in all, this show unfolded as I expected. A fantastic band, and a fantastic show, just too bad it had to be at the Docks.

Maceo Parker: 4.8/5 Sound Academy: 3/5

Ricky’s Review

Toronto – I too, went to see Maceo Parker’s show at the Sound Academy. Anyone who reads this blog or knows me knows that going to a show like this is a bit out of my element. Unfamiliar with Maceo Parker’s music or life and I called him Maceo Baston (Raptors scrub player) most of the time. I wonder if this ruffled the feathers of Mark and his Jazz hombres at times, but that is life – I still remember a couple months ago when someone tried to introduce me this “cool band” called New Order…never, has murder been so tempting. I am reminded of events that happened earlier in the evening, when Mark played some tune by some jazz dude to his friend and was all like “What does this song remind you of” and I interrupted with “Elevator music”. A single tear ran down every single jazz fan in that room at that time and then eight elephants died somewhere in Africa.

Here are some notes from the show:

  • I think Maceo Parker and his band are the oldest people i’ve ever seen on stage, but they carried themselves very well and were very professional in their demeanor
  • They all wore suits, not like suits to look cool or uniform (like the hives, per say) but like suits that they might wear Sunday to church or something.
  • Maceo really demanded a lot of appreciation. every 3 or 4 minutes, Maceo would be like ‘lets give it up for X (x = band, guitar player, bass, bartender, yo mama, etc). I really think as a audience member, I should only give it up at the end of the show, when I am completely satisfied. This audience was giving it up more then a cheerleader after a high school championship game
  • I don’t know why I keep on trying to think of barber shop jokes to write.
  • Funk songs are really, really, really long. Also, there are an insanely large amount of solos. I think one of the songs featured a bass solo, a guitar solo, a keyboard solo, a trumpet solo and a trombone solo. maybe thats just how the music rolls over there. I don’t know.

Overall, it was a neat experience. It’s always good to check out a new scene, I’m not necessary sure that jazz/funk shows are something I would go to on a regular basis, but it’s something that everyone should check out.

Posted on by Mark in Concerts, Toronto Jazz Festival