I have a hard time coming up with my list of ‘favorites’ for anything – movies, music, you name it. But if I were stranded on a desert island and could only take one album with me, it would be Maceo’s ‘Life on Planet Groove’. I can listen to it anytime, anywhere, and never get tired of it!
This is a short solo from ‘Got to Get U’. It’s just eight bars over one chord. It’s simple, and relatively easy to play. The tempo is slow, and you can really hear the sixteenth note subdivision coming through in every part. It’s so strong that it’s sometimes hard to tell if Maceo is actually playing every subdivision, or if I’m just feeling it.
The first three bars are almost entirely played with the one, flat 3 and the flat seven (he plays the fifth once). That makes it all the more powerful when he leans on the ninth on the downbeat of the fourth bar. Back to the 1, b3, and b7 for the next two bars until he leans on the 4 (or 11, whichever you prefer). The next figure re-introduces the 9th, and also throws in the 6th (13th) for good measure.
So for a one-chord funk groove, even though Maceo sticks primarily to the minor pentatonic, he uses all of the notes in the scale for added color. Ironically, the one note that he doesn’t play that you might expect him to is the flat five. He doesn’t need it!
There are a couple more great solos on this album that I want to try and work on before the end of 2018, but they are much more involved. Wish me luck!Maceo Parker - Got to Get U
- Artist: Maceo Parker
- Album: Life on Planet Groove
- Track: Got to Get U
- Instrument: Alto Sax