picture of Bernie Worrell
Bernie Worrell
Bernie was born in 1944 and grew up in Plainfield, NJ. A musical prodigy, he began formal piano lessons by age three and wrote a concerto at age eight. He went on to study at the Juilliard School and received a degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1967.
 
After meeting George Clinton, leader of a Plainfield-based doo wop group called The Parliaments, Worrell, Clinton, The Parliaments and their backing band, The Funkadelics, moved to Detroit, MI; thereafter, both groups became collectively known as Parliament-Funkadelic. During the 1970s the same group of musicians separately recorded under the names Parliament and Funkadelic, but toured as P-Funk. Worrell played grand piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, Hohner Clavinet, Hammond B-3 organ, ARP String Ensemble and Moog synthesizer, co-wrote, and wrote horn and rhythm arrangements on hit recordings for both groups and other associated bands under the "Parliafunkadelicment Thang" production company, and many of his most notable performances were recorded with Bootsy's Rubber Band, Parlet, The Brides of Funkenstein and The Horny Horns.
 
While funk musicians traditionally utilized electric keyboards, such as the Hammond organ and Fender Rhodes electric piano, Bernie was the second recipient of the Moog synthesizer created by Bob Moog. He used the ARP Pro Soloist as well. Worrell's synthesizer work is prominent on the majority of Parliament's most popular songs throughout the 1970s.
 
When Parliament-Funkadelic took a hiatus from touring in the early 1980s, Worrell was recruited to perform and record with Talking Heads during their most inventive period. Though he never officially joined Talking Heads, he was a de facto member of the group for most of the '80s.
 
From the late 1980s through the 2010s, Bernie recorded extensively with Bill Laswell, including Sly and Robbie's Laswell - produced Rhythm Killers and the 1985 Fela Kuti album Army Arrangement. Worrell performed with Gov't Mule. Through the beginning of the 21st century, he became a visible member of the jam band scene, performing in many large summer music festivals, sometimes billed as Bernie Worrell and the Woo Warriors. He appeared on several Jack Bruce albums.
 
Bernie joined the rock group Black Jack Johnson, with Mos Def, Will Calhoun, Doug Wimbish and Dr. Know. Bernie's project Baby Elephant was a collaboration with Stetsasonic member/De La Soul producer Prince Paul and longtime Paul associate Don Newkirk.
 
Bernie appeared in the 2004 documentary film Moog with synthesizer pioneer Bob Moog and several other Moog synthesizer musicians. In 2011, he toured with Bootsy Collins, another major figure from Parliament-Funkadelic. From 2011 through 2015, Bernie performed with his group, the Bernie Worrell Orchestra. The band became known for the appearance of special guests at live performances, including Bootsy Collins, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Jimmy Destri, Mike Watt, Rah Digga and Gary Lucas. In 2015, Bernie appeared in the movie Ricki and the Flash as the keyboard player in Meryl Streep's band.
 
During May 2016, the New England Conservatory of Music gave Worrell an honorary Doctor of Music degree. In January 2016, Worrell was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer. He died at the age of 72 on 24 June 2016.
 
source: Wikipedia
contact:
homepage: www.bernieworrell.com

 

Discography
Horses And Trees
Celluloid NY 6126D
released 1986
recorded September to November 1985
Ginger Baker, drums
Foday Musa Suso, Dousongonni
Shankar, violin
Bernie Worrell, Hammond organ
Nicky Skopelitis, guitar
Bill Laswell, bass
Daniel Ponce, bata, bells
Aiyb Dieng, tschatan, bells
Funk Of Ages
Gramavision R279460
released 1990
recorded 1990 in New York City/USA
Bernie Worrell, clavinet, organ, synthesizer, vocals
Steve Jordan, drums, guitar, percussion, vocals
Charley Drayton, bass, guitar, percussion
Keith Richards, guitar
Gary Cooper, vocals
Loren Qualls, vocals
Uptown horns
William Collins, bass, guitar
Herbie Hancock, keyboards
Maceo Parker, sax
Middle Passage
Island Records 210879
released 1990
recorded in New York City/USA
Ginger Baker, drums
Jah Wobble, bass
Jonas Hellborg, bass
Bill Laswell, bass
Nicky Skopelitis, guitar
Faruk Tekbilek, Ney, Zurna
Bernie Worrell, Hammond organ
Aiyb Dieng, Doff, Dumbek
Mar Gueye, Sabar
Magette Fall, Tama
Ritual Beating System
Island Records 314510856-2
released 1992
recorded in New York City/USA
Carlinhos Brown, guitar, percussion, vocals
Olodum, drums
Wayne Shorter, soprano sax
Herbie Hancock, piano
Bernie Worrell, Hammond B-3 organ
Henry Threadgill, flute
Larry Wright, buckets
David Chapman, buckets
Tony "Funky Drummer" Walls, drums
Pieces Of Woo - The Other Side
CMP CD65
released 1993
recorded 1992/93 in Brooklyn, NY/USA
Bernie Worrell, Hammond B-3 organ, syntheziser
Fred Wesley, trombone
Vincent Chancey, French horn
Marty Ehruch, bass clarinet
Janet Grice, bassoon
Patience Higgins, clarinet
Amina Claudine Myers, Hammond B-3 organ
Bill Laswell, loops, samples
Blacktronic Science
Gramavision R279474
released 1993
recorded 1993 in Brooklyn, NY/USA
Bernie Worrell, Hammond B-3 organ, syntheziser, harpsichord
George Clinton, vocals
Bootsy Collins, guitar
Gary Cooper, vocals
Maceo Parker, alto sax
Fred Wesley, trombone
Bill Laswell, loops, samples
Aiyb Dieng, cowbells, percussion
Tony Williams, drums
The Last Poets: Holy Terror
Rykodisc RCD 10319
released 1993
recorded in Brooklyn, NY/USA
Bootsy Collins, guitar, bass, vocals
Bernie Worrell, organ, piano, synthesizer
Bill Laswell, bass
Aïyb Dieng, percussion
Don Babatunde, percussion
Grandmaster Melle Mel, voice
Umar Bin Hassan, voice
Abiodun Oyewole, voice
George Clinton, vocals
Save Our Children
Verve 557297-2
recorded 1998 in West Orange, NJ/USA
Pharaoah Sanders, soprano sax, tenor sax
William Henderson, piano, harmonium
Bernie Worrell, organ, piano, syntheziser
Tony Cedras, harmonium
Jeff Bova, synthesizers
Alex Blake, bass
Zakir Hussain, tablas, mbira, voice
Trilok Gurtu, drums, tablas, percussion
Abdou Mboup, talking drum, voice
Abiodun Oyewole, voice
Asante, voice
Live At Wetlands
bootleg
recorded live March 1999 at Wetlands in New York, NY/USA
Jimmy Herring, guitar
Bernie Worrell, organ
Jeff Sipe, drums
NN, bass
Twenty Years of Talking Tabla
Manteca MANTDBL517
compilation, recorded 1989 through 2003
Trilok Gurtu, drums, caxixi, clay pot, congas, percussion, tabla, vocals
Huun-Huur-Tu
Jan Garbarek, soprano sax, tenor sax
Pharoah Sanders, sax
Jaya Deva, guitar, vocals
Nicolas Fiszman, guitar
Amit Heri, guitar
Steve Lukather, guitar
John McLaughlin, guitar
Ralph Towner, guitar
Ravi Chary, sitar, harmonium
Daniel Goyone, keyboards, piano
Célia Reggiani, keyboards
William Henderson, piano
Bernie Worrell, organ, piano, synthesizer
Joe Zawinul, keyboards
Carlo Cantini, violin
Lakshminarayana Shankar, violin
Sandro di Paolo, viola
Enrico Guerzoni, cello
Kai Eckhardt, bass
Jonas Hellborg, fuzz bass
Abdou M'Boup, talking drum, voices
Zakir Hussain, tabla
Sultan Khan, sarangui
Sayan Bapa, throat singing
Neneh Cherry, vocals
Shobha Gurtu, vocals
Sabine Kabongo, vocals
Salif Keita, vocals
Angélique Kidjo, vocals
Hadja Kouyate, vocals
Shankar Mahadevan, vocals
Abiodun Oyewole, vocals
Oumou Sangaré, vocals
MTO Plays Sly
The Royal Potato Family RPF 1110
recorded in Brooklyn, NY/USA
Millennial Territory Orchestra, c/ by Steven Bernstein
Peter Apfelbaum, soprano sax, tenor sax
Erik Lawrence, soprano sax, baritone sax
Doug Weiselman, tenor sax
Curtis Fowlkes, trombone
Steven Bernstein, trumpet
Matt Munisteri, banjo, guitar
Vernon Reid, guitar
Bernie Worrell, Hammond organ
Charlie Burnham, violin
Ben Allison, bass
Bill Laswell, bass
Ben Perowsky, drums
Dean Bowman, vocals
Antony Hegarty, vocals
Shilpa Ray, vocals
Sandra St. Victor, vocals
Martha Wainwright, vocals
Live At The Beachland Ballroom
bootleg
recorded live April 2013 in Cleveland, OH/USA
Bernie Worrell, keyboards
Andrew Kimball, guitar
Kyle Cadena, guitar
Scott Hogan, bass
Glen Fittin, percussion
Evan Taylor, drums
Nicole Scorsone, violin
Derek Davis

 
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