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Bernie Worrell & the WOO Warriors
Review 01/28/99 From: Mike Evans
Park City, Utah (January 28, 1999) Visualize, in your minds eye, near-full moon shining silver on snowy mountains, and a three-story A-Frame lodge at the edge of a ski hill. Our top story features electric keyboard wizard Bernie Worrell and The WOO Warriors mixing up a magical sonic brew for a throbbing, dancing, funky crowd, shedding layers of fleece and woolen clothes -- the united rhythms shaking the massive wood and glass structure from roof to foundation. Bernie Worrell's music is rich and textured, slamming on the beat, flowing through the timbers and beams like an avalanche of Funk. P-Funk, Pure Funk, Uncut Funk, meaning sounds that are "Good To Your Earhole," with driving, sophisticated rhythms "dedicated to the preservation of the movement of hips!" Bernie Worrell, whose gave his first classical performance at the age of four, has been likened to Mozart and Chopin. Bernie's chops were choppin' that night on the ski hill! He effortlessly swept his fingers over a semicircle of synths and keyboards, and tap danced over another dozen foot pedals. He sang, and blew the Melodica too. The WOO Warriors show started off with keyboardist/singer Gregg Fitz coaxing the dancers onto the floor with the mellow rap and chorus of "Make My Funk The P-Funk." The classic Parliament sounds of plunkin' bass, tastefully-placed kick drums, and elegant keystrokes were all there. The seductive, synthesized horns chimed in on the one, and mass hypnosis began! Bernie Worrell took over , and led a contemporary virtuoso instrumental tour de force called "Entersection." The audience was treated to their first look at the lovely B.J. Nelson, cutting loose on "Red Hot Mamma," the hard-rock Funkadelic classic. B.J. and Bernie took the swirling crowd right to the edge, sharing lead vocals on the pile-driving rocker "Y Spy." "Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On" put the audience right OVER the edge! Other uptempo Funkadelic masterpieces like "Comin' Round The "Mountain," and "Cosmic Slop" came in a chain reaction of satisfaction. "If You Don't Like The Effects, Don't Produce The Cause," like "Y Spy," sent a message to everybody's head while they stepped, and swirled around the dance floor. Donna Mc Phearson kept the line tight as everybody got hooked on "Lady Bass" through all her rhythms and changes. "Give The People What They Want, And They Wants It ALL The Time," B.J. Nelson reminded us in song! Everybody was a believer! Everybody believed in smooth, suave Michael Reuben, his soaring guitar solos, and elegant rhythm strokes, which could be gritty as you wanted. They danced in praise of the extraordinarily personable Gabe Gonzales, and his thundering, symphonic drumming, then danced some more. Gabe had it going on! Back at the bar, even the drinkers laughed ruefully when Greg Fitz sang out "Smokey, I'm like a dog on your chain!" The whole place was shaking -- literally and figuratively, and, let me tell you, there were some lovely figures dancing there -- from Chicago, California, Germany, France, and swinging "parts unknown." The Sundance film festival was going on, but Bernie Worrel had the best show in town. When it came time for the last tune, "Night Of The Thumpasaurus People" started -- pumping slowly, building to a mini-crescendo of soul, then "Thumpasaurus" mutated after the first climax, and things got even more intense. "Ga Ga Goo Ga -- Ga Ga Gooo Gah" Everyone was singing along in a new language. The mixed-age-and-race throng went "Thumpasauristic," and Bernie Worrell's musical mothership lifted everybody into Outer Space -- Heart, Mind, and Soul.