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Nov 30 – Dec 7, 1996
17.5” X 22.5” (34.25cm X 59.15cm)

At 17”X22” this poster is double the size of the standard music poster. I chose to do this piece as a continuous-tone image, and rendered it in oil crayon on coquille; when it was printed, I specified a black/purple duotone. Maceo’s shows are energetic events. The music has such a driving force that the room and everyone in it come alive; it takes a concerted effort to not move with it. So I felt it was a perfect occasion to once again render the music visually. Placing Maceo squarely in the center, he becomes the eye of the storm - – standing there, hands frozen in mid-clap perfectly illustrates the velvet torque his funk-fused wall of sound creates. With that anchoring the piece, I set about creating the graphic structure around him. From the sweeping title shape wisps of music emerge, swirling into the darkness along intricate paths. The shapes at the bottom, delineating date and place, thrust upward, while the fires in their bellies as they push into the scene threatens to consume all. I think this is an accurate visual description of the magic he performs on stage.


The Maceo Parker’s shows at Antone’s have been some of the most high-energy performances that I have ever seen. This former saxophonist for James Brown struck out on his own over two decades before and has managed to put together and keep one of the finest performing show bands to ever mount a stage. In addition to the masterful horn arrangements mastered under the Godfather, he added a driving funk beat and fused both with the powerful jazz crafted by another of the same name -- Charley Parker. He amalgamated these forces into an entirely different sound, wrapped and bound it in a saxophone fury. It was evocative of the way horns signatured early rock and roll, but in a whole new way. Weaving it all together, Maceo and his band produced a wall of sound, funk-torqued with a pounding beat that is absolutely compelling.

He opened an entire week of shows just after Thanksgiving in 1996, which would be the last time he would perform at the Antone’s location at 28th and Guadalupe. This, the club’s third location, was just north of the University of Texas and the one venue incarnation that would see the greatest number of performances by him. Performing here twice a year for the last four years, he had first played the club when it was on Great Northern Blvd. All of those appearances however would pale before the fire he would bring to the music that first wintry week of December. Chris Duarte opened for him all this week. Last time through town another Chris -- Chris Thomas, an incredibly gifted guitarist from Louisiana, had opened for Maceo. He would later change his name to Chris Thomas King, and would play the role incarnating the Robert Johnson legend in the Coen Brothers odyssey, Oh Brother Where Art Thou? . It wasn’t long after Duarte left the stage that the nine-piece band was into a hard and powerful opening. The music just got more intense with each new number, until it was difficult to discern where one piece began and the segue from the last one ended; and once Maceo hit the state, it was impossible. There was no break, just one three-hour set; a show that would not let up. As with every Maceo Parker performance at Antone’s, women singly or in groups, mounted the bar and were dancing its full length – this was a signature event and tonight was no exception. By midnight the joint was jumping; filling the room with an addictive beat.

Around sunset on the first night a massive “Norther” had blown in and temperatures were in the 30s outside, with a biting wind ratcheting the temperature down further. Nevertheless, the heat that was being generated by the music and the packed club thronged toward the stage, which became a crucible of sound and motion. I stepped outside at one point, unable to stand the temperature yet reluctant to break away. When I did, the night brought me back around. -- It was bracing; the heat dissipated rapidly. Walking back in, my glasses steamed up immediately – at least as much from the sound and motion itself as its heat.

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