BERNIE WORRELL

FREE AGENT: A SPACED ODYSSEY

  1/  Hope Is Here                               (Worrell)                     9.56
  2/  AfroFuturism (Phazed One)                  (Worrell,Laswell)             16.22
  3/  In Pursuit                                 (Worrell,Kanza)               9.10
  4/  WOO Awakens, The Wizard Cometh             (Worrell)                     11.00
  5/  Re-Enter Black Light (Entersection)        (Worrell,Sluys)               6.22
  6/  Warriors Off To WOO                        (Worrell)                     4.17

          Created at Greenpoint Studios, Brooklyn, NY and The Wizardís Lair,
            Plainfield, New Jersey
          Engineering : Robert Musso, Oz Fritz and Jean Pierre Sluys
          Studio Assistance: Diabel Faye
          Track 1 mixed by La Mar Mitchell ("Kaptain Kronick")
          Engineer: Joey De Maio
          Produced by Bernie Worrell
          Mix translation and additional production: Bill Laswell
          Material Inc.: John Brown
          Axiom Input: Bill Murphy
Bernie Worrell: vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, melodica; Hamid Drake (2,3): drums, tabla, percussion; Aiyb Dieng (2,3): chatan, congas, percussion, bells; Dominic Kanza (3): guitar; Buckethead (4,6): guitar; Bill Laswell (2,3): bass, bells; Jean Pierre Sluys (5): bass, guitar, beats, sound EFX.

          1997 - Black Arc/Polystar (Japan), PSCR-5609 (CD)
          1998 - Woo Productions, Inc. (USA), 522D8 (CD)


REVIEWS :

Worrell has a discursive atmospheric side, and a punchy funk side. His best work usually comes when he integrates both sides, but this self-produced offering is so heavy on the atmosphere you may lose interest. Most of the tracks are instrumentals starting off with a limping, canned groove and then degenerating into themeless chaos with some brilliant moments ("AfroFuturism (Phazed One)") but more dull ones. It's Bernie's show all the way - he's the only musician on "Hope Is Here," guitarist Buckethead is the only guest on "Woo Awakens" and "Warriors Off To Woo." Only "AfroFuturism" and the township jive "In Pursuit" feature a full band: Laswell on bass, Hamid Drake and Aiyb Dieng on percussion, and Dominic Kanza on guitar ("In Pursuit" only). Jean Pierre Sluys adds a number of instruments to "Re-Enter Black Light (Entersection)." Not available in stores; see Bernie's web site for ordering information.

2 stars out of 5

David Bertrand Wilson (courtesy of the Wilson and Alroy's Record Reviews website)