Parker has played with every leader of funk. He started with James Brown’s band, which he describes as “like being at University.” In his two decades in the group, his signature style helped define Brown’s particular brand of funk. Parker played on Prince’s tours, worked with Bootsy Collins and hooked up with George Clinton and the various incarnations of Parliament and Funkadelic.
His collaborators over the years have included Ray Charles, Ani Difranco, James Taylor, De La Soul, Dave Matthews Band and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Since 1990, he has enjoyed a blistering solo career, building a new funk empire both fresh and stylistically diverse. He released two successful solo albums: 1990’s Roots Revisited, which spent 10 weeks at the top of Billboard’s Jazz Charts, and 1991’s Mo’ Roots. But it was his third solo album, Life on Planet Groove, recorded live in 1992, which has become a funk fan favorite.