by Seth Lightcap, Tahoe World
July 1, 2008

Everyone remembers their favorite teacher in school. You know, the one whose classroom style made every lesson sound like the secret to the universe and every activity feel like a party.

Thursday at the River Ranch such a class was definitely in session as the funk professor Maceo Parker and his eight-piece “tightest little funk orchestra on earth” delivered a blowout lecture in Funk 101 that left every student dancing on their desk and howling in the hallway.

From ‘Pass the Peas’ to ‘Tear the Roof Off’ and back, the now 65-year old funk founding father laced his signature sax sound into rousing medleys of the classic funk choruses that defined the genre. Though the tunes broke little ground into progressive funksmanship, the sound was so damn tight it didn’t matter. Like a taste of the funk constitution, Maceo’s selections were born funky, no need for alternative interpretation.

The red hot band that backed Maceo matched his every move, including the dapper suits, and made sure even their insatiable leader was shaking his money maker. The rhythm section was especially tight. They never missed a Maceo cue and laid a backbeat so bumpin’ it was a toss up whether soloist or dancer appreciated it more. Showcase solos from trombonist Greg Boyer and guitarist Bruno Speight complemented Maceo’s reedwork like cranberries and candied walnuts in a sweet funk salad. Tasty!

The sold-out crowd ate up every horn lick and snare crack as the sound at the River Ranch was once again fabulous. The dancefloor grooved and bounced from start to finish with just enough room to maneuver between the river and the ranch. It’s no surprise that Robbie and the Renegade Crew have made the Ranch their premiere venue this summer. The vibe is right, the sound is sick. and the party goes off without the drama of the regional park.

For those who missed Maceo… register for his classes earlier freshman! Cause there’s no doubt, when this teacher’s in Tahoe, funk fiends from elementary to graduate will be lining up for Maceo’s masterful lecture.