Paul Wertico (born January 5, 1953 in Chicago) is an American drummer.
Paul gained world recognition as a member of the Pat Metheny Group from 1983 until 2001, leaving the group to spend more time with his family and to pursue other musical interests. Pat Metheny heard the Simon Bard Group with Wertico and bassist Steve Rodby and effectively took Paul and Steve into his own band. During his tenure with Metheny, he performed on ten recordings and four videos, appeared on many television shows, and toured across the world. Also during those years, he won seven Grammy Awards (for Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Best Contemporary Jazz Performance, and Best Rock Instrumental Performance), some magazine polls, and received several gold records.
In recent years, Wertico has continued to perform regularly around the world, as well as around Chicago metropolitan area, where he is based. This led to the creation of his own band, the Paul Wertico Trio, and also several successful collaborations with other jazz notables, such as Larry Coryell, Kurt Elling, and Jeff Berlin. These collaborations also allowed Wertico to be featured on numerous recordings with various groups in a variety of musical genres, and also gave Wertico the opportunity to produce music for many of these recordings.
When Paul is not touring, he divides his musical career between session work, producing, teaching, composing, and leading his own groups. Paul has played with such jazz greats as Eddie Harris, Lee Konitz, Dave Liebman, Sam Rivers, Bob Mintzer, Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco, Roscoe Mitchell, Evan Parker, Jay McShann, Herbie Mann, Randy Brecker, Jerry Goodman, Ramsey Lewis and many others. He's currently a member of the Larry Coryell Trio. From 2000 to 2007 he was a member of the platinum-record winning Polish progressive rock band, SBB.
In reviews, his playing has been compared to that of an "Impressionist painter," while Paul has also been described as "an inspired madman", "a restless innovator", "a true legend of jazz drums", "a master of drumming insanity", and "a genius of the sticks". In 2004, Wertico was honored as a "Chicagoan of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune, and he has also been honored by both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times with numerous album of the year nods.
Paul is also extremely active in the field of education. In addition to teaching drums privately for 40 years, Paul is Assistant Professor of Jazz and Head of Jazz Studies at Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. He has also on the faculty of the percussion and jazz studies programs at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He's written educational articles for magazines such as Modern Drummer, DRUM!, Drums & Drumming, Drum Tracks, and Downbeat, as well as for Musician.com. He also performs drum clinics and master classes at universities, high schools, and music stores in the U.S. and around the world. In addition, he's released two instructional videos, "Fine Tuning Your Performance" and "Paul Wertico's Drum Philosophy."
Paul's debut CD as a leader, "The Yin And The Yout," received great critical acclaim including 4 stars in Downbeat magazine. Paul's 1998 CD is a live recording of the Paul Wertico Trio titled "Live In Warsaw!" It received 4½ stars in Downbeat, and features guitarist John Moulder and bassist Eric Hochberg. This trio's 2000 release was a studio recording titled "Don't Be Scared Anymore" that received reviews such as: "This album is like the soundtrack to the world's coolest vacation" by All About Jazz and "Jazz-rock in the truest sense" by Allmusic. Paul's 2004 CD, "StereoNucleosis" was released to positive reviews. The Chicago Tribune wrote "A brilliant release - Wertico shows a thrilling disregard for stylistic boundaries. "StereoNucleosis" is one of the most intelligent, creative and alluring percussion recordings of the past decade. Wertico reaffirms his position among the most restlessly inventive drummers working today." and Allmusic proclaimed "Wertico and his players have done something wonderful and rare: they've actually created something not only different, but also truly new." LA Weekly wrote "His recent records, such as 2000's "Don't Be Scared Anymore" and the new "StereoNucleosis," are stunning examples of the electronic, rhythmic and intellectual directions jazz could be going." Paul's 2006 CD "Another Side" is on the audiophile Naim Label and has been described as "a brilliant collaborative effort between these three uniquely talented musicians."
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