Equifunk Artist Spotlight: Soulive with Special Guest Maceo Parker
So, if you’ve been keeping up with the news from Team Equifunk, you may have heard that this year Equifunk Music Festival, taking place from August 16-19, will be headlined by Soulive with special guest Maceo Parker. Some of you may realize what this means in the world of music, but for those of you a little behind in the funk game, I’ll try to give you an idea.
Maceo Parker has been killing it on the saxophone for over five decades now. In the ‘60s he was getting soulful with James Brown. In the ‘70s he brought the funk with George Clinton and his varied musical projects. More recently, he has appeared in recordings and on stage as a part of Prince’s band. In between, he has collaborated on individual songs with artists across the spectrum, from Keith Richards to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Ani DiFranco.
Somehow while doing all of this, he also found time to create an impressive portfolio of music through his own solo projects. For his most recent album Soul Classics, which came out in 2012, Parker collaborated with WDR Big Band (you can check out a couple of the tracks here). His previous album Roots & Grooves, also with WDR Big Band, won a Jammie Award for best jazz album in 2009.
Clearly, Parker is a god of all things funk and soul. And in mid-August, at the beautiful grounds of Camp Equinunk, Parker will add his magic to the jazz funk fusion of Soulive, the main headliner for the sixth festival orchestrated by Team Equifunk.
Soulive is, at its heart, a trio: Alan Evans on drums, Neal Evans on keys (as well as organ and clavinet), and Eric Krasno on guitar. However, anyone who has seen Soulive knows that more likely than not, you’re gonna get more than just the trio. Since 2009, fans have often seen the Shady Horns as well as Rashawn Ross (trumpet) join them on stage, with Nigel Hall often appearing as vocalist for at least a few songs. The Shady Horns (originally Sam Kinninger on alto sax and Ryan Zoidis on tenor sax) will once again accompany Soulive for their headlining set at Equifunk, featuring Ryan Zoidis (sax), Eric Bloom (trumpet), and James Casey (sax, also of the Trey Anastasio Band). Given that the Nigel Hall Band will also perform at the festival I think it’s safe to assume that Mr. Hall will join this funktacular bunch of musicians on stage as well. Soulive’s most recent album Spark!, a tribute to the late famous jazz guitarist Melvin Sparks featuring Karl Denson, came out just about a year ago. You can listen to the title track below.
Every Soulive show I’ve attended has left me speechless. Yet, I have a feeling that this year at Equifunk, the ceiling of the epic house of funk shall be shattered. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the band’s set goes down as the best headlining set in the history of the festival. Only time will tell. However, I can say with confidence that not catching this performance would be a huge mistake. Don’t miss out!