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Maceo Parker interviewed for Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival

From Friday 18 – Sunday 20 March, Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival returns to Colston Hall with a line-up that takes us on a journey through a century of jazz and blues music.

Headlining on Saturday 19 March is Funk and Soul legend Maceo Parker – playing at the Hall for the first time in 10 years. As a member of James Brown’s band, Parker not only produced some of the most enduring entries in the vast canon of American soul music, but also sowed the seeds of the funk revolution of the 1970s. Since then he has collaborated with the likes of Ray Charles, Ani Difranco, James Taylor, De La Soul, Dave Matthews Band and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Here, Maceo answers some questions ahead of his Saturday night headline slot at the Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival.

What defines Funk?
Syncopated beat.

Who or what was your first musical inspiration?
My mother and father.

Musically, what inspires you today?
Listening to old stuff – The Sermon Album, Jimmy Smith with Lee Morgan, Lou Donaldson, also Ernie Watts and anything by Ray Charles, David Newman and Hank Crawford.

Do you remember the first time you picked up a musical instrument?
I do remember that my first musical instrument was the piano although I didn’t pick it up, I played it!

Of all your achievements, is there one you are most proud of?
The ability to travel and try to distribute love around the world.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
At the end of a show when we are all feeling that we have done a good show and we have brought and shared some happiness with the people in the audience.

What’s your motto?
Closest I come to a motto is “always remember we love you”.

What did you learn about fame from working with artists like James Brown and Prince?
Be ready for a story when one of the old fans approaches you. Get ready, smile and try to remember the particular story that particular fan is going to tell!

If your life were a song title, what would it be?
The Dixie Hummingbirds – a band my father liked – had a song called: “Thank You for One More Day”.

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