Bernie Worrell first came to prominence as a founding member and musical director of Parliament/Funkadelic. While this massively influential supergroup was altering the course of music, Bernie was radically charting the course of emerging keyboard technology during the golden age of analog synthesis. After departing Parliament/Funkadelic, Worrell resurfaced with the revamped Talking Heads lineup for several albums. Worrell’s colorings, this time delivered via new digital keyboards such as the Prophet 5, were central to the recasting of group leader David Byrne’s musical ideas through African rhythms.
In the years since he left Talking Heads, Worrell has been a phenomenally prolific studio musician, serving as a primary change-agent in the many experimental works of producer Bill Laswell while contributing his singular flair to projects by the likes of Keith Richards, the Pretenders, and Deee-Lite. At the same time, he’s among the most-sampled musicians ever, with Digital Underground, De La Soul, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, DMX, and countless others having acknowledged his timeless grooves by building their tunes around his signature riffs. Watch him recount his tales from the lecture couch at the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy in New York City.