Bernie Worrell : Improvisczario

He may be 63 years old, but Bernie Worrell can still bring the funk like no other. The former musical director and co-founding member of Paraliment/Funkadelic, Worrell is known for combining classically trained keyboard wizardry with extraordinary improvisational skills to cross all musical boundaries while crafting some of the funkiest music known to man.

Improvisczario, Worrell’s most recent, is the instrumental album he has longed to record; a jazz/funk/rock project that is anchored by the rhythm section of Will Calhoun (Living Colour) on drums and bassist Brett Bass. Throughout, Worrell’s keys glide over the top, moving effortlessly from baby grand to Hammond B3 to Clavinet to Wurlitzer, even taking a turn on Thelonious Monk’s old Celeste piano.

Like contemporaries Medeski, Martin and Wood, or Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, this project centers around three virtuosos dropped into an improvisational setting, and the result is a work of art. Worrell also invited a couple of additional friends, Warren Haynes and Mike Gordon, to add to a few of the tracks. Haynes adds a mean slide guitar to “Dirty” and “Killer Mosquito,” while Mike Gordon showcases banjo talent on “Up In the Hills.”

Improvisczario is an impressive CD, so much so that many will consider it a modern masterpiece of improvisational music.

Improvisczario is out September 11 on Godforsaken Records.