Honoring The Late Musical Great, Pioneering Funk Keyboardist Bernie Worrell (1944 - 2016)

Posted by Billyjam, June 24, 2016 07:30pm | Post a Comment

As if 2016 cannot bring any more sad news of musical greats passing, this afternoon confirmed reports began circulating that influential keyboardist/musical great Bernie Worrell (Parliament-Funkadelic, Talking Heads etc.) died at noon today from stage four lung cancer at age 72. Both master and pioneer of the Moog synthesizer and the Minimoog, the New Jersey born George Clinton collaborator, who relocated with Clinton and The Parliaments to Detroit in the 70's, was the backbone of Clinton's various named/themed ensembles. But it was namely the trailblazing Parliament-Funkadelic funk / soul / rock ensemble that garnered Worrell (aka Dr. Woo) the most attention initially. Among his many fans were the members of Talking Heads who invited him to join them in the early 80's as a side project to his P-Funk gig. This he did and continued to do throughout that decade. As a member of both P-Funk and Talking Heads,  Worrell was inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1997 and 2002 respectively. In addition to P-Funk and Talking Heads and the dozen solo albums he released over the years including 1978's All The Woo In The World and 1990's Funk of Ages, Worrell collaborated with numerous other artists including Fela Kuti, Jack Bruce, Steve Jordan, Buckethead, and Les Claypool. Just recently the vinyl version of the 2016 career look-back, Retrospectives on Purple Woo, arrived in Amoeba following the CD version. Worrell, who was featured in last year's movie Ricki and The Flash  as member of Meryl Streep’s band in the 2015 film, performed with Clinton and P-Funk as recently as two months ago. See footage below along with a series of other tracks/concert pieces featuring the musical great.
                           Rest in peace "The Wizard of Woo" Bernie Worrell.

Bernie Worrell with Parliament Funkadelic "P-Funk Wants to Get Funked Up- Mothership Connection"
live in Houston (1976)

Parliament with Bernie Worrell live at The Aqua Boogie Tour - includes live version of "Much Thrust"
from Bernie Worrell's debut solo LP All The Woo In The World

P-Funk with Worrell playing live in NYC just couple of months ago, fan video (2016

Bernie Worrell performing Mothership Connection (4 camera angle)

Steve Jordan & Bernie Worrell live

Funkentelechy Bernie Worrell - live in NJ (2012)

Worrell played on Fela Kuti’s 1984 album Army Arrangement

"Take Me To The River" by Talking Heads featuring Bernie Worrell from "Stop Making Sense" - Worrell played on Speaking in Tongues & on the Stop Making Sense live album/concert film, excerpt above

Les Claypool, Buckethead and Bernie Worrell live at Wakarusa

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Bernie Worrell (2), P-funk (5)