Maceo Parker, at sixty-seven years old, is one of the preeminent funk and jazz saxophone players in the world, having played with stars like James Brown and Prince. This month he will perform a number of concerts in Canada. Mr. Parker names Ray Charles as his musical idol, but says he’s comfortable floating between genres and calls himself, a “soul music” fan.
When he describes meeting Michael in Las Vegas, at an NBA All-Star game, the excitement in his voice is clear,
“Everyone kept saying ‘MJ’ and ‘Michael,’ and I’m thinking they’re talking about Michael Jordan, and the band and I were backstage just holding up the wall,” Parker recalls. “Then I see Chris Tucker, who I’d met a couple times at the Apollo, and Chris says to Michael, ‘That’s Maceo,’ and Michael Jackson turns to me and says, ‘I love your stuff.’ Man, when he died, it was like President Kennedy being shot.”