Bernie Worrell: Stranger - Bernie Worrell on Earth [DVD]

A frustratingly sketchy but inarguably fascinating profile of Bernie Worrell, the brilliant keyboard player who redefined the use of electronics with Parliament/Funkadelic, this documentary gets a serviceable presentation on DVD. Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth has been given a non-anamorphic letterboxed transfer to disc, framed in the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and the new material generally looks very good, though some of the performance footage suggests the filmmakers had only limited access to Worrell's live shows and some of the aging footage of the P-Funk tours of the Seventies clearly needs restoration. The audio appears in two mixes, in Dolby 5.1 surround sound and two-channel Dolby Stereo, and is crisp and resonant in both formats, making the most of Worrell's layers of eccentric keyboard patterns. The interviews are in English, with no subtitles or multiple language options included. As a bonus, the disc includes additional interview material with a dozen of the musicians who appear in the films (the bonus interviews actually run longer than the documentary itself), as well as footage of Worrell in the studio, recording two improvised pieces for his 2007 album Improvisczario. If this is hardly the definitive portrait of a wildly under-appreciated artist, at very least Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth offers a thoughtful look at his life and work, and music fans will want to give it a look.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer
  • Songs "Celeste" and "Killer Mosquito", featuring guitarist Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule)
  • Approx. 20 minutes of in studio performance footage. Includes two songs, featuring drummer Will Calhoun (Living Colour) and bassist Brett Bass (Regina Spektor), from the making of Bernie Worrell solo alum Improvisczario
  • Approx. 45 minutes of additional interview footage

Synopsis

Bernie Worrell: Stranger - Bernie Worrell on Earth
Bernie Worrell: Stranger - Bernie Worrell on Earth documents the career of the celebrated funk pianist. In addition to offering up clips of the man at work, the filmmakers sit down with a number of contemporaries, including David Byrne, who discuss Worrell's influence. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

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