Paul Wertico

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".

Although his resume reads like the who's who of jazz, Paul gained world recognition when he took over the drum chair with the Pat Metheny Group in 1983. During the next eighteen years, Wertico appeared on numerous television shows, toured the world dozens of times, played on ten CDs and three videos with Metheny, won seven Grammy Awards, and received several gold records. After leaving PMG in 2001, Paul has continued his playing career, dividing his time between studio work, producing, and leading his own music groups.

As an educator, Wertico is the Assistant Professor of Jazz and Head of Jazz Studies at Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, and serves on the percussion faculty at Northwestern University. He's written educational articles for such magazines as Modern Drummer, DRUM!, Drums & Drumming, Drum Tracks, and Downbeat, conducted numerous drum clinics and master classes, and has released two instructional videos, "Fine Tuning Your Performance" and "Paul Wertico's Drum Philosophy".

I was fortunate enough to connect with Paul Wertico for this unedited interview at the Drummer Cafe stage on Sunday, May 16th, while he was attending the 2010 Chicago Drum Show.

Congratulations to Paul Wertico for receiving the “Lifetime Achievement Award for Major Contribution to the World of Drumming & Education” at the 10th annual Cape Breton International Drum Festival, held on May 22nd and 23rd, 2010 in Nova Scotia, Canada. He also has a new CD, "Impressions of a City", recorded live in the studio with his group, Paul Wertico's Mid-East/Mid-West Alliance.

Paul now hosts his own weekly radio show entitled "Paul Wertico's Wild World of Jazz" every Sunday night from 9pm to 11pm CST on 87.7FM Chicago's Smooth Jazz - WLFM-FM. Tune in on your radio to 87.7FM to listen live, or listen to podcasts by visiting Paul's page at WLFM's website by clicking HERE.