Bernie Worrell Shares 'World Of Originality'

In his six-decade career, Bernie Worrell has spread WOO - his musical "World of Originality" - far and wide. But despite reaching millions with his work in the original Parliament/Funkadelic, as a solo artist and with numerous noteworthy side bands, he hasn't lost sight of the world around him. In order to foster musical interest and achievement, Worrell founded "World of Originality" (, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.

"World of Originality" has two main arms: a series of master classes at high schools and universities, and the annual Local & Legend Music Festival ( In the classes, rather than lecture, Worrell fields questions from the audience about music, music technology and the music business. "I don't lecture because I don't like telling anyone what to do," says Worrell. The resulting exchanges, like his music, are free-flowing, organic and edifying - for students as well as teachers.

"Everyone walked out of our question-and-answer session charged up to study and perform more music," says Adam Levy of Metuchen High School in New Jersey. "It's uncanny how his philosophy about music being music and not believing in lumping artists into genres is precisely the message I try to convey to my students. I can say it for a full school year, but all Bernie has to do is play piano for three minutes and my students understand the message."

Now in its fifth year, The Local & Legend Music Festival is a fun-filled family day with great food, local vendors and musical performances by Bernie Worrell and several local artists. For the past three years, Tony-Award nominated actor/director/singer Larry Marshall (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Cotton Club) has been a special guest. Proceeds from the event benefit the Bernie Worrell Scholarship in Music/Performing Arts. "Our festival is unique because we shine a spotlight on local musicians doing original music, some of whom are mentored by Bernie," says co-founder and producer Judie Worrell. She adds that this year, several musicians - including members of Worrell's new solo vehicle the Bernie Worrell Orchestra - will teach workshops. "No matter what age, maybe a person who always wanted to play, but never had chance - this will be good for them."

This year's Local & Legend Music Festival will happen on Sept. 14 at Vasa Park in Budd Lake, NJ. For more information, visit

As a key member of the original Parliament/Funkadelic, Bernie Worrell designed the legendary group's unmistakable spaced-out keyboard sound. That intergalactic, synth-drenched whomp propelled such original P-Funk classics as "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)" and most notably "Flash Light." Worrell's otherworldly funk, songwriting and production with the group earned him the nickname "The Wizard of WOO" - and a place, along with the rest of the original Parliament/Funkadelic, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Worrell was also instrumental within Talking Heads, appearing on the landmark album Speaking in Tongues and in the Jonathan Demme concert film Stop Making Sense. In the 2004 documentary Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth, David Byrne credits Worrell and his musical contributions with injecting fun into Talking Heads' music and performances. Worrell's influence continues to permeate modern music with the likes of Dr. Dre and The Coup sampling his work.

The Bernie Worrell Orchestra is Bernie Worrell (keyboards), Andrew Kimball (guitar), Kyle Cadena (guitar), Scott Hogan (bass), Glen Fittin (percussion), Evan Taylor (drums/bandleader), Shlomi Cohen (alto sax), Ofer Assaf (tenor sax), Justin Mullens (trumpet). For more information, visit


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