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Album Review

Bernie Worrell is best known as an A-list funkateer, but his talents go well beyond the funk arena. A Julliard trained classical pianist, Worrell has also appeared with everyone from Fred Schneider to the Pretenders to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion to Pharoah Sanders and a myriad of Bill Laswell productions (not to mention his association with Talking Heads). Improvisczario is pretty much what the title suggests: these are improvised tracks with a rhythm section of Will Calhoun on drums and Brett Bass on bass. Basically, the rhythm section finds a groove and Worrell plays on top of it but since he sticks to just one keyboard per track, and there are a few guests, there's a nice variety within the format. "New Boss" has a somewhat static, modal groove with Worrell playing some really nice grand piano. He sticks with the baby grand for "Up in the Hills," which starts out with the banjo playing of Phish's Mike Gordon. You can tell these tracks were mostly cut live as you can occasionally hear voices in the background, in this case someone says "I need a talkback mic." Towards the end of the track, Worrell sneaks in a Funkadelic quote then proceeds to get down on piano. "Bass on the Line" is decidedly more funky, with Bass' pseudo-Space Bass leading the way for Worrell's Wurlitzer and the sax and flute work of Darryl Dixon. Switching to some really sick clavinet sounds for the next track, "Dirty" also features the wailing wah-wah guitar work of Warren Haynes (who Worrell has recorded with on several occasions) and a monster bass tone from Brett Bass. Haynes sticks around for "Killer Mosquito," a slower groove with some nice Hammond organ. "OK, You Can Leave Now" has Will Calhoun adding some D&B style drum loops to the equation with some nice conversation between Worrell's Wurlitzer and the treated sax of Dixon. The set closes with "Celeste," featuring the sweet, bell-like tones of the Celeste piano. The track starts slowly before finding its feet, and Worrell adds a couple nursery rhyme quotes into his solo. Those expecting a Funkfest may be slightly disappointed despite the presence of a few funky tracks, but Worrell can't be blamed for the misconceptions of others. Improvisczario is a showcase for his formidable skills as a keyboard player, and on that account it succeeds nicely.

Customer Reviews

Attention Music Lovers!

If you are a true fan of music, do not hesitate to get this immediately. Worrell shines in this improv setting. Mike Gordon (from Phish) shows his wears on the banjo, while Warren Haynes (gov't Mule, Allman bro's) brings a little rock to the album. Take advantage of the Tommorrow (takes, 1 and 2) tracks, as they are unavailable on the US album release. Enjoy!!!!

Incredible- absolutely

This is such great music, I don't know where to begin. It's stripped down and organic- kind of like the old Atlantic Records jazz albums....where you feel like your sitting in the room with the greatest of great musicians and they are playing their hearts out just for you. It maybe a cliche, but they just don't make 'em like this anymore. Bernie Worrell's timing and phrasing on this album show that he is on par with the Monks and the Petersons. Will Calhoun shows that he's as much a child of Blakley and DeJohnette as he is of Bonham and Buddy Miles- totally different sound and syle for him, but a great new direction- would love to hear him do more of this kind of thing. Warren Haynes, on Killer Mosquito and Dirty, shows why he might be the greatest living guitarist. A must own!

Incredible, Incomparable, and Important Art

Bernie Worrell has only a few equals in music, namely - Bach, Beethoven, Hendrix, and Miles Davis. Every track stands as a testament to the genius of Worrell and his ability to collaborate with some of the most technically excellent and artistic musicians around today. Worrell does not stand still, but progresses in time (past, present, and future tenses) in his playing. Remember what he did to Flashlight and Aqua Boogie (Parliament LPs) to name a few? He astounded the team of musicians and created something new. Here, he uses jazz, funk, rock, and a bit of folk music as mixtures to stir up the soul and challenge, engage, and employ the listener to take the voyage... listen because Worrell presents himself as an instrument of the universe.. "And Funk is it's own reward".


Born: April 19, 1944 in Long Beach, NJ

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Raised in Plainfield, New Jersey, Bernie Worrell was a classically trained pianist at three years old. Throughout his childhood he played with symphonies and orchestras, and even wrote his own concerto at the age of eight. Slowly, he listened to the radio and discovered sounds other than classical, and when he went to college, he played with a number of bar bands, including the Tavares (who were known as Chubby & the Turnpikes back then). It was also around this time that Worrell met George Clinton,...
Full Bio
Improvisczario, Bernie Worrell
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Customer Ratings