Born in Chicago, Illinois on January 5, 1953, Paul Wertico started playing drums at the age of 12 and became a professional by the age of 15. Self-taught on the drumset, he developed his unique musical concept by listening not only to jazz and rock, but to a variety of musical styles from all over the world. He then applied elements of these styles to his drumming in a melodic, as well as a rhythmic fashion. His playing has been compared to that of "an Impressionist painter", while he has also been described as "an inspired madman" and "a restless innovator". Paul was voted "Fusion Drummer Of The Year" in the 1997 Drum! Magazine Reader's Poll, and placed in the top five in the"Electric Jazz" category of Modern Drummer Magazine's 1997 & 1998 Reader's Polls.
Influenced as much by Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes or Art Blakey as by Ginger Baker, Mitch Mitchell or Keith Moon, Paul Wertico is an all-around drummer. n the early '70s, he left college and soon became a fixture of the Chicago music scene, playing and recording with a multitude of diverse artists including jazz saxophonist Joe Daley, ethnomusicologist Paul Berliner, blues-rock vocalist/guitarist Ellen McIlwaine, folk singer Terry Callier and the fusion-based imon & Bard Group. Always active in various realms of creative music, he most notably started two cooperative bands: Earwax Control with multi-instrumentalist Jeff Czech and keyboardist Gordon James, and Spontaneous Composition with multi-reed player Rich Corpolongo and bassist Doug Lofstrom. In 1983, Wertico replaced Danny Gottlieb in the Pat Metheny Group.
He appeared on ten cds and three videos with Pat, and has toured the world many times. Also during that time, he won seven Grammy Awards, numerous magazine polls, and received several gold records. Paul left the PMG in February of 2001.
When Paul is not touring, he divides his time between studio work, producing, session playing, and leading his own groups. Paul has played with such jazz greats as Larry Coryell, 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. In reviews, his playing has been compared to that of an "Impressionist painter", while Paul has also been described as "an inspired madman" and "a restless innovator."
Paul is also very active in the educational field. Besides teaching privately for over 30 years, he currently serves on the percussion faculty of both Northwestern University and the Bloom School of Jazz and he has written educational articles for magazines such as Modern Drummer, Drum!, Drums & Drumming, and Drum Tracks.
Paul Wertico also performs drum clinics and master classes at universities, high schools, and music stores in the U.S. and around the world. Some past clinics have been performed at Drummers Collective in NYC, Percussion Institute of Technology (PIT) in LA, North Texas State University and the University of Miami, as well as Musicians Institute (MI) in England, Drummers Institute in Germany, Università della Musica in Italy, Escuela de Música de Buenos Aires in Argentina, and the Rimon School of Jazz in Israel.
He's also performed at the International Association of Jazz Educators' International Conferences and the Annual Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic. In addition, he's released two instructional videos, "Fine Tuning Your Performance" and "Paul Wertico's Drum Philosophy" (formerly "Sound Work Of Drumming").
He's also released seven co-op recording projects:
a self-titled LP, "Earwax Control", and a live EWC CD entitled "2 LIVE";
a self-titled LP, "Spontaneous Composition";
a drums/percussion duo CD (with Gregg Bendian) entitled "Bang!";
a double guitars/double drums 3-CD set (with Derek Bailey, Pat Metheny, and Gregg Bendian) entitled "The Sign Of 4";
and two piano/bass/drums trio CD's (with Laurence Hobgood & Brian Torff) entitled "Union" and "State Of The Union".
Paul Wertico's debut cd as a leader, entitled "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 and is entitled "Live In Warsaw!" It received 4 1/2 stars in Downbeat, and features guitarist John Moulder and bassist Eric Hochberg. This trio's new cd is a studio recording entitled "Don't Be Scared Anymore" that has 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 the All Music Guide.
Paul played drums on Paul Winter's 1990 Grammy nominated release, "Earth: Voices Of A Planet", and he's also played on and produced a number of cds for various artists including vocalist Kurt Elling's 1995 Grammy nominated release, "Close Your Eyes", Elling's 1997 Grammy nominated release, "The Messenger", and Elling's 1998 Grammy nominated release, "This Time It's Love". Paul also served on the Board of Governors of the Chicago Chapter of NARAS (The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences).
In addition to winning numerous awards as a member of the PMG, Paul was also voted "Fusion Drummer Of The Year" in Drum! magazine's Reader's Poll and he's placed in the "Top Five in the Electric Jazz Category" in Modern Drummer magazine's Reader's Polls.
Paul Wertico's been featured on the covers of Drum Tracks magazine and Modern Drummer magazine, as well as on international drum publications such as Italy's Percussioni and Belgium's Belgo Beat. He was also one of the featured clinicians at the 1994, 1999 & 2002 Percussive Arts Society International Conventions and the 1997 Modern Drummer Drum Festival. His performances are included in videos of two of those events. Paul is also one of the featured artists on Drum Workshop's videos, "The American Dream II" and "The American Dream III".
Paul Wertico also has his own "signature" drum sticks: the Paul Wertico model - TX808W, as well as new "signature" products that he invented called "Tubz" and "KidzTubz", all made by Pro-Mark.
Paul endorses: Drum Workshop drums, pedals and hardware; Paiste cymbals, sounds and gongs; Remo drumheads and World Percussion; Pro-Mark drumsticks, Tubz, KidzTubz, brushes and mallets; Meinl percussion products; Shure microphones; Slug percussion products; Alternative Mode/KAT products; XL Specialty cases; The Original Drum Screen; Sensaphonics products