Maceo Parker: Pass The Peas


Pass The Peas


Maceo Parker (alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, vocals)


Life On Planet Groove (Minor Music 801023 )

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Maceo Parker (alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, vocals), Fred Wesley (trombone), Larry Goldings (organ), Rodney Jones (guitar),

Pee Wee Ellis (tenor saxophone), Kenwood Dennard (drums)


Composed by James Brown, John Starks & Charles Bobbit


Recorded: Cologne, Gernany, March 5, 1992


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

This live cut of the James Brown classic “Pass the Peas” features his longtime horn section -- Maceo Parker, Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley -- at their absolute best. The group, a collection of James Brown alumni and other top-notch funk musicians, is much looser and improvisatory than the Brown band, and it's clear that each of the horn players relishes their musical freedom.

Fred Wesley kicks things off with the first solo, staking his claim as the funkiest trombonist of all time. Melodically, he rarely strays from the blues scale, but he builds a powerful and exciting solo by using short, rhythmically precise phrases and juxtaposing his ideas as if having a conversation with himself. By the time Maceo gets the crowd chanting "Fred! Fred!" his dark, juicy tone is sailing expertly over the groove.

Maceo adds his two cents afterward, and the group continues for nearly 12 minutes without losing that essential rhythmic feel. Guitarist Rodney Jones leads the way, and the crowd obviously eats it up. They finally build into a massive chordal explosion, giving the crowd a chance to cheer before moving on with the rest of their uncompromisingly funky show.

Reviewer: Alex W. Rodriguez

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