May 5, 2014
BERNIE WORRELL CELEBRATED 70th BIRTHDAY AT MOOGFEST
Original Parliament/Funkadelic and Talking Heads keyboard genius
sat in with Keith Emerson at electronic music gathering.
(NEW JERSEY) WOO-hoo! Last month, legendary keyboardist/composer/producer Bernie Worrell – a/k/a The Wizard of WOO – turned 70 years old. A few days after his birthday in Asheville, NC, Worrell – a perennial Moogfest guest – sat in with Keith Emerson of the renowned prog-rock trio Emerson, Lake and Palmer. In addition, the Bernie Worrell Orchestra performed at MoogFest, a festival celebrating Dr. Robert Moog’s contributions to music
As a pioneering adopter of Moog technology, Bernie created his own language through music with Moog synthesizers including the ingenious, unmistakable bassline for the Prliament/Funkadelic’s classic “Flash Light.”
“It is arguable that no synthesizer player has made a bigger impact on the sound and feel of popular music than Bernie Worrell,” writes The Star-Ledger.
His latest musical endeavor is the Bernie Worrell Orchestra, an ensemble which creates original music that mines late-1960s/early 1970s psychedelic rock and R&B, the foundation of funk. The band just finished “Prequel,” which is a follow-up to their 2013 CD, BWO Is Landing, that MusicRadar.com called “a winning set.” The Independent Music Award-winning track “Get Your Hands Off,” is streaming now at www.bernieworrell.com.
About Bernie Worrell
As the architect of Parliament Funkadelic’s iconic intergalactic, synth-drenched sound, Bernie Worrell is a keyboardist and a master of production and songwriting. His work with P-Funk earned him the nickname “The Wizard of WOO” as well as a place, along with the original Parliament/Funkadelic, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With the Talking Heads, Worrell appeared on the landmark album Speaking in Tongues and in the Jonathan Demme concert film Stop Making Sense. But these are merely Worrell’s two most recognizable credits in his six-decade career. His discography also boasts nine solo albums – including Elevation, his first solo piano collection, released in February. Worrell is also a highly-sought session player and collaborator. Among his numerous side projects are Method of Defiance (with Bill Laswell), Black Jack Johnson (with Mos Def) and Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains, a supergroup featuring Les Claypool and Brain from Primus and enigmatic guitarist Buckethead.
Worrell’s massive musical influence is documented in the 2004 documentary Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth. In the film, David Byrne credits Worrell with injecting fun into Talking Heads’ music and performances. Worrell’s influence continues to permeate modern music with the likes of Dr. Dre and The Coup sampling his work.