Bernie Worrell: Jazz Standards
Words By J-man
From its soft shell to its funk-filled core, Bernie Worrell's Jazz Standards is a brilliant tribute to one of the world's greatest musical genres. Bernie's consistently flavorful playing shines throughout the album as his eclectic musical approach shows no limits or boundaries from start to finish.
The album opens with a solo Bernie on a grand piano playing Billy Strayhorn's "Take The A Train". Initially the listener is led to believe that his approach on the album will be traditional in nature, a notion that is quickly washed away with Bernie's signature spacey tones and instrumental madness on a version of Paul Desmond's "Take Five". The variety continues with the Latin classic "Agua De Beber" by Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Bernie's heavy synth-funk influence is felt on Jerome Kern's "All Things You Are", with a tasteful splash of horns. A slower, ambient version of Jay Gorney's "You Are My Thrill" follows, leading into an early 60s swing-sounding "Bye Bye Blackbird" that was originally composed by Ray Henderson.
Herbie Hancock's standard "Watermelon Man" is transformed into Bernie's signature sound. Bernie's Clavinet and synth work point a clear finger to both Herbie and Bernie's influence within the funk-jazz genres. Benny Golson's "Killer Joe" falls into a blues vibe with clean horn work that is coupled with Bernie's electric organ work and familiar riffs that evoke the memories of childhood. The guitar and bass on "Killer Joe" stand out as some of the best instrumentation on the album.
For the finale, Bernie plays the European-sounding melodica for Johnny Mercer's "Moon River". The album then closes as it began with Bernie moving back to the piano to finish this fine piece of art.
Bernie offers an innovative and fresh look at some of his favorite jazz classics. A classic from its first notes to its final breath, Jazz Standards is an instant essential for both Bernie Worrell fans and jazz fans alike. Be sure to purchase a copy for your personal collection.