So when he showed up at my apartment with Glen Fittin (the Orchestra's percussionist) I wasn't surprised that Worrell was humble; I wasn't surprised that he could remember details from long-ago P-Funk sessions; I wasn't surprised that he could coax stunning sounds from my wife's ancient electric piano. But I was pleasantly surprised that he could speak volubly about a range of topics including his composing and arranging process, the role of bass in his music (bass guitar being the instrument I was trying to play), the different approaches he's used working with the Funk Mob vs. Talking Heads vs. Bill Laswell vs. his Orchestra. It was the opportunity to jam with him and Fittin, though, that made it a one of a kind experience - he listened carefully to every note I played as if I were a peer, his face lit up when he heard something he liked and he had boundless patience when I wandered off course. (The songs we played, in whole or in part: "Jam in D(avid)," "Red Hot Momma," "Undisco Kidd (The Girl Is Bad)," "Take Your Dead Ass Home (Say Som'n Nasty)," "Jam in A(rabic)," "Bop Gun (Endangered Species).")
I learned more about improvisation in that one session than I'd learned in the previous 46 years. I could have gotten a lot less and still been satisfied, but doing the minimum is just not how Worrell operates: he put everything he had into my lesson the same way he gives his all onstage.