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Bernie Worrell Remembers: "Talking Heads Wanted to Funk"

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How did your new group The Bernie Worrell Orchestra form?

It was formed by Evan Taylor who's the drummer and bandleader. He co-produced the first BWO album which is out on vinyl called Jazz Standards. My manager asked if I was interested in doing that project and I said yes. The whole band is from Madison, New Jersey, except the horn players, so they all went to high school together. Evan formed the band, and I'm the Grandpa who oversees it. We try to be versatile and play a lot of different stuff. That includes improvisation and jamming right on the spot while still having form to it.

What kind of show do you guys put on for the audience?

There will be different genres of music. We like to have fun. There will be audience participation if they want to join in. There will be Talking Heads songs, P-Funk songs, originals, and the beat will be, you know, fun-KEY! They can get ready to go on a trip, a journey, and you'll be able to dance, which is the most important thing.

A documentary film was made about you Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth. What was it like watching it?

Yeah, I heard about it.

You haven't seen it?

No, I have too much other stuff to do. They did it, so maybe one day I'll look it up.

So what are those stuff? What does your typical day look like?

I wake up, take the dogs out, feed the dogs, eat some breakfast, run some errands, and then I go all around the world. I just got back from Brazil scoring music for a film for a young Brazilian director who used for one of the themes a P-Funk song I wrote years ago called Atmosphere, and he wanted more stuff like that, so I was down there two weeks. Tomorrow I play in Providence and then Brooklyn and then Sunday I leave for Spain with Nona Hendryx from LaBelle. I'm keeping busy.

Bernie Worrell Orchestra, 8 p.m., Saturday, March 1, the Funky Biscuit, 303 SE Mizner Blvd

Royal Palm Place, Boca Raton. Visit funkybiscuit.com.

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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland

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