Bernie Worrell 1944-2016

Bernie

Pure Music.
Pure Passion.

The man was a vessel. The sounds he made were direct from his soul to yours.
His fingers were only complete when connected to the black and white keys – ivory, wood, plastic – no matter.

His hands rested in chordal patterns. They twitched in brilliant half-steps. Fingerless gloves covered the paws of genius.

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A crooked and friendly smile made it all right.

His contemporaries, if there are any, come from millenia — Monk? Chopin? Bach? Beethoven? Ellington? Debussy? Miles?

Or is it Bootsy, George, Eddie, Garry, Kidd, and the rest of his funkateer cohorts?

One of the finest composers, arrangers, and performers of the 20th & 21st centuries died the other day.

Expired after a thankfully short battle with cancer.

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Expired before he could deliver even more wonderful music.

George Bernard Worrell.
The Wizard of Woo.

Bernie Worrell piano

Bernie Baby We Miss You Already.bernie_worrell

If anyone can make music in the post-earth life it’s this man.

I expect to see him on that cosmic keyboard.

Through the front window of the mothership.

Close encounters of the woo kind.


Here’s some other takes on the legend passing:

How Bernie Worrell Built Our Musical Future (MTV)

Bernie Worrell, masterful P-Funk keyboardist, dies in Everson (Bellingham Herald)

Bernie Worrell, ‘Wizard Of Woo,’ Dies at 72 (NPR)

Bernie Worrell Obituary: Founding Member of Parliament-Funkadelic who helped Talking Heads take new musical directions. (The Guardian)

Bernie Worrell, Parliament-Funkadelic Keyboardist, Dead at 72: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee was also unofficial member of Talking Heads (Rolling Stone)

George Clinton: Bernie Worrell’s passing a ‘huge loss’ (Asbury Park Press)



Worrell

 

 

The Mortal Coil

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The Bump Assembly: The late Ken “Big Bamn” Smith, Chris “Freekbass” Sherman, Jason Burgard


 

We wake every day, or we don’t. I’d like to keep it that simple but man is it hard to contain the sadness as more and more beautiful people perish.

The latest is a great musician and friend Big Bamn, born Ken Smith, an amazing man and top-notch percussionist. He died yesterday tragically in a car accident a day before his 31st birthday. He is survived by his wife and 5 beautiful kids. Damn, another great goes early.

I have lost several friends in the last 12 months and it’s not getting any easier. Jesus, David, Eli and now Bamn. If I made a list of the most amazing guys I know that’s it.

Knew. Legends now, all of them.

Joined by the famous legends David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister, and now there’s word that Bernie Worrell is sick with cancer.

Life’s a bitch and then you die. Better make love and music while you are here.

Damn, Bowie Is Gone

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Is it a hoax? While releasing his latest album, and already receiving amazing reviews, David Bowie, 69, passed last night from unreported cancer.

So many unanswered questions here, like who knew, how they were planning the promotion of the new album and all of that?  The BBC is saying it’s been an 18-month battle.

A great man has fallen. A great artist that forever changed the world entered it as David Jones in Brixton and succumbed 2 days after his 69th birthday, and 2 days after releasing his final album.

Buy that new album Blackstar and buy 5 more Bowie albums why you are at it. You won’t regret it.

Review my previous Bowie moments here.


 

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The Late Great Jesus

My best buddy Jesus passed away this week. He was the strongest fighter I knew and his loss has left those in his world confused and bobbling.

My friend Jesus was a great man, a flawed man, an amazing musician, father, husband, and hell raiser. Perhaps the finest hell raiser we’ve seen in some time. He left behind a beautiful family of 5 and the struggle is just getting started for them.

I went back through my writings and found a few pieces that were influenced by him, the late great bassist and composer for 2MERICA, Jesus Irizarry. Rest in peace, friend.

 

The Big Holy Thing

The big holy thing

that I learned at 5:23

peeled the shield

from my mortality

a garbage bag full

of maggots and all

define the mighty

and still we fall

can’t tell, won’t tell, don’t tell

just stall . . .

you booked three rooms

and the devil is in them all

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Chainsaw Men

Cold days at the park

peaceful silence once again

Interrupted by ducks

and geese carrying on

Crumbling leaves blowing under my tires

A quick transformation

into something less

A crumbled fucking mess

staying together by chance

If it’s me I am there listing

Just a haunted piece of a glorious past

But I’m the tree

I understand

My buds, my rings, my bark

my roots, my being here

Tied to this earth

as strong as I’ll ever be

I know I’m the tree

and I have been all along

I sit watching for bugs

and chainsaw men

to take me down

 

 

The Lone Wolf Narrative

Guy plans to kill multiple innocent people for an ideology. Guy pulls it off. Guy is a terrorist, right?

In america, it depends on if he’s white or not.

Terrorist douchebag. This is from Facebook, taken before the guy walked into a church and killed a bible study group because they were black.

Terrorist douchebag. This is from his Facebook, taken before he walked into a church and killed an entire bible study group because they were black. He even claimed to have “black friends”.

See, if he’s a white american, the media and politicians say he’s a lone wolf, a social outcast, and clearly suffering from mental health issues. The system failed him somewhere, poor guy. His parents did all they can, why didn’t they know more? He acted alone, he taught himself, and once he’s dead it’s all over.  What a senseless tragedy. Some people really are crazy! Let’s talk about how evil this guy was then move on. There’s no larger social context here.

If he’s a black or latino american the narrative is very different. He’s called a thug, a gangster and he is acting out based on the inability of his people to control themselves. His laziness left him a loser in life so he struck out against those with more than him. His education, his music, his parents, his community, his speech patterns, even his clothing are all identified as signs that we should be scared of this happening again from others sharing his skin tone and situation. The media gets a lot of mileage out of this type of story.

If he’s muslim or his family originates from anywhere near the middle east, he is immediately labeled a terrorist and it is assumed his religious beliefs put him up to this act. He’s not a thug, a gangster, or a lone crazy in that nationality, he’s a terrorist working for forces against ‘merica. This narrative is strong enough to launch entire wars on it.

Here’s a professor of religion and african studies putting this more eloquently:

Shooters of color are called ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs.’ Why are white people called ‘mentally ill’?

 

Turns out this guy went to school with the niece of Republican leader Lyndsey Graham. When asked for comment, Graham went about pushing the lone wolf narrative. No surprise.

 

R.I.P. Knuckles

One of the finest DJ’s ever, a guy who opened his own club to DJ his mix of music, called the Warehouse, which in turn helped birth the genre “House”. Genre games are stupid – this is top end dance music full of funk and hard beats.

Here’s the obit and some good tracks to remember Frankie by. I also have been adding some rare old Frankie Knuckles tracks to The_One

because they are dancefloor killers, always were, always will be.

 

frankie knuckles

 

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Another Great Goes Young

Heroin is making a killing these days. Stay clear of the death, please, and if you know someone that needs help reach out. Be safe, be smart, and don’t be a fool. Things that can kill you are not to be trifled with! For a buzz? If you need that edge of thrill then ride your bike around the city or take up skydiving. I also suggest musical therapy as a cure-all. But let’s remember those weaker than us that took the plunge and never returned. It’s hard out there these days. Lots of lying and self-gratifying mirages.

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman, a young and accomplished 46, found dead with needle dangling. Early reports say the poor man was clean for 23 years and then this. I’ve been told it never leaves you, which is the best reason ever for not trying it.

PSH-Big-Lebowski