1/ Witness For The Defense (Wesley,Worrell) 5.17 2/ Set the Tone/Victory (Myers,Hassan,Worrell) 9.48 3/ The Mask (Buckethead,Worrell) 7.43 4/ Gladiator Skull (Laswell,Worrell) 4.13 5/ Moon Over Brixton (Ellis,Wesley) 6.02 6/ Judie's Passion Purple (Laswell,Worrell) 14.43 7/ Fields of Play (Fritz,Laswell,Worrell) 2.45 Recorded and mixed at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York 1992/93 Enginnered by Oz Fritz, Robert Musso and Bruce Calder Mixed by Oz Fritz for High Velocity Assistant: Imad Mansour Produced by Bill Laswell and Bernie Worrell Coordination for Material, Inc.: Tracy McKnight Extra Woo and maintenance: Peter Wetherbee Mastered by Howie Weinberg at MasterdiskBernie Worrell: Hammond B-3 organ, Roland D-50 synthesizer, mini Moog, wah clavinet, Wurlitzer electric piano; Fred Wesley (1,5): trombone; Vincent Chancey (1,5): french horn; Marty Ehrlich (1,5): bass clarinet; Janet Grice (1,5): bassoon; Patience Higgins (1,5): clarinet; Amina Claudine Myers (2,6): Hammond B-3 organ; Umar Bin Hassan (2): vocal narration; Buckethead (3): guitars, effects; Oz Fritz (7): sounds; Bill Laswell (4,5,6,7): beats, loops, samples, noise, effects.
Woodwind section on tracks 1 and 5 arranged by Fred Wesley
1993 - CMP Records (Germany), CMP CD 65 (CD) 2019 - Tidal Waves Music (USA), TWM22 (2xvinyl)Note: 500 black vinyl, 100 red vinyl copies. Both with silk screened D side.
2 stars out of 5
David Bertrand Wilson (courtesy of the Wilson and Alroy's Record Reviews website)
This album is yet another interesting departure for Bernie Worrell, though one that makes complete sense in the progression of his solo albums. This album isn't really a funk album, but rather a jazz/classical/ambient album with heavy funk overtones. As such, it can take several listens to get accustomed to, but there's a lot of extremely interesting stuff here, even for a 'regular' funk fan. A number of instruments and musicians not noted for funk are used for the first time, and the results are downright fascinating.
"Witness For The Defense" is a jazz piece dominated by Fred Wesley and a group of woodwind players. The arrangements are mellow, but definitely funky. Bernie's synth and organ almost become a sort of percussive instrument, sounding like a xylophone. "Set The Tone" is a funkier piece dominated entirely by keys, be they Mini-Moogs, Clavinets or Hammonds. There are some truly low-down, smelly-funk sounds going on here, and the poem read by Hassan works perfectly. "The Mask" features some super heavy and funky organ from Bernie and cool effects from Buckethead. This song is as heavy as anything he did with Funkadelic, and it's my favorite track here. "Gladiator Skull" is a driving but less interesting organ/loops piece. "Moon Over Brixton" is anotherwoodwind piece that is quite mellow, almost classical in its nature. "Judie's Passion Purple" is a long, mellow keyboard encounter between Bernie and Amina Myers, made somewhat annoying by the 'noise' that Bill Laswell throws in. "Fields Of Play" is an interesting 'send-off' piece where the weird sounds work well with the synth.
The album features some photos of Bernie and interesting liner notes, discussing Bernie's importance and the band assembled on this album, dubbed 'Pieces Of Woo'.
3 stars out of 5
Rob Clough (courtesy of the Motherpage website)