25 June 2016
Bernie Worrell, the keyboardist and founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic known as the “Wizard of Woo’’ died on Friday at the age of 72.
Judie Worrell, his widow, wife, wrote on her Facebook page; “at 11:54, June 24, 2016, Bernie transitioned Home to the Great Spirit’’.
“Rest in peace, my love – you definitely made the world a better place.”
Worrell’s death came less than six months after he revealed he was battling a late stage of cancer.
A child prodigy who studied classical piano starting at age 3, Worrell rose to prominence in the 1970s as a member of George Clinton’s funk and soul collective Parliament-Funkadelic.
Worrell who was one of the first musicians to use the Moog synthesiser, also co-wrote and performed numerous hits that would have heavy influence on disco and R&B music.
He once said his classical music training helped him to use the synthesiser to great effect, according to a biography posted on his website.
“If I am playing a horn arrangement on keyboard or strings, it sounds like strings or horns, because I know how to phrase it.
“How a string phrases, different attacks from the aperture for horns, trumpets, sax or trombones,’’ he said.
After leaving P-Funk as it was commonly known, Worrell spent several years touring with the Talking Heads and released a number of solo albums.
He was credited with co-writing the score for the 1994 movie “Car 54, Where Are You’’? based on a classic television show.
He was also a member of Paul Shaffer’s band on “Late Show with David Letterman’’ for a short time.
Worrell and other P-Funk members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.