Paul Wertico

Primary Instrument: Drums

Born: January 5, 1953    

Paul Wertico

Hailed in the press as “One of the most versatile and musical drummers in music today”, Paul was born on January 5, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois. At age 12, he learned how to read music and play drums and percussion instruments in grade school. At age 14, he got his first drum set and taught himself how to play it. By age 15, he was already playing professionally with various rock and jazz bands. By the early '70s, he was a fixture of the Chicago music scene, playing and recording with a multitude of diverse artists including legendary jazz saxophonist Joe Daley, ethnomusicologist Paul Berliner, blues-rock vocalist/guitarist Ellen McIlwaine, rock singer Adrian Smith, folk singer Terry Callier, ECM-influenced guitarist Ross Traut, the fusion-based Simon & Bard Group, and a whole list of others. Always active in various realms of creative and avant-garde 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....
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Reviews of Impressions Of A City:

“… a wildly unpredictable journey into one man’s apparently inexhaustible sonic imagination. Weird electronic effects, straight-ahead jazz, scorching blues, rock-tinged guitar wails, ambient sounds of the city - it’s all there on the CD… the CD unfolds with a grandeur and over-arching shape that would lead you to conclude vast amount of planning had gone into it… [That the album was completely improvised] helps explain the vitality and spontaneity of the recording but not its high degree of instrumental detail or its sense of cascading climaxes and resolutions. In effect, Impressions Of A City captures the frenetic, too-many-things-happening-at-once sense of an urban metropolis, expressed in the language of jazz and its many off-shoots… a rare combination of jazz tradition and anything-goes experimentation. The miracle is that the two fuse so easily in a recording that spans 18 tracks but unfolds as if it’s one, rip-roaring epic.”

- Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune, November 2009.

“… a soundtrack waiting for a film… This is the soundtrack I suspect Hieronymus Bosch would have written had he been a modern composer watching the news… Despite the sometimes nightmarish and chaotic nature, the level of musicianship never ceases to attain a high level. Moulder and Rabin handle the guitars with exuberance, Markovitch soars on saxes, while Wertico himself plays at times like a dervish possessed by his own personal demons looking to break free… Peters provides some chewy bass, synths, violin and an assortment of unusual instruments and sounds, while Rabin’s loops and sounds also add layers of texture to the overall atmosphere. Haunting and memorable, Impressions Of A City is an engaging musical experiment and one that is highly unique.”

- Brad Walseth,, November 2009.

“Replete with crash, clatter and soundscapes of all stripes, Paul Wertico’s newly formed Mid-East/Mid-West Alliance takes a sonically engrossed look at the modern city via a day-in-the-life motif… the record meshes Eastern and Western tones in exploring the anxiety-enriched landscape we call modern life… Wertico ends the record the way Bob Dylan is prone to do after serving up heaps of distress, with a shrug of the shoulders and a joke: “Good Night and Good Luck.” This is musical narrative at its finest. A fanfare for the common (and mechanistically exploited) 21st century man and woman.”

- Matt Marshall, Jazz Inside NY, November 2009.

“Between the jungly atmosphere of “What Should I Wear Today” and the quirky shredding within “Word Salad”, Wertico and friends include enough elements to please both picky jazz purists and rock fans alike, mixing hardcore distortion on the axe with synths, saxes, and the ambient soundscape. So pretty standard stuff, as far as insane avant-garde recording sessions with legendary fusion-jazz drummers go”

- A.V. Club, The Onion, November 2009.

“The music on this album is like nothing you’ve heard recently… these five musicians had never worked as one unit before stepping into the studio, where they improvised everything you hear on this disc… Wertico and company have constructed a panoramic palette of tonal colors and sonic designs, a broad wash of landscape imagery and topographical detail and deep-fathom waves (and even a little smoke-and-mirrors). His instincts remain intact: this quintet of collision, patched together on a whim, achieves the unity of purpose that Wertico imagined - even without preparation or rehearsal. As they’ve done on the trio’s previous recordings, Moulder and Peters manage to give themselves over to the music without subsuming their own unique personae; meanwhile, the new guys add a stream of fresh ideas, renewing the well from which this music springs. Holding it all in his remarkably strong hands is Wertico himself, one of the most energetic, inventive, and masterful drummers in any genre, on one of the most impressively spontaneous albums you’ll find on this planet - or any other.”

- Neil Tesser (from the liner notes)

“One of the most experimental acoustic drummers around. Sometimes beautiful, other times tense or just plain spooky, Impressions Of A City ought to go some way toward correcting the dubious reputation of avant-garde music.”
- DRUM!, January 2010.

“What makes the music work is not only that Wertico is not content to just “play it straight” as a drummer but that his skills as a conceptualist/leader may even be greater. A heads-up for all budding drummers (check out Wertico's inventive pause of a solo on “My Side Of The Story”) who would like to hear and create music that goes beyond just keeping time.” - 4 ½ stars
- John Ephland, Downbeat, March 2010.


Reviews of Paul Wertico's Drum Philosophy:

THE HIT LIST: Drumming Videos That Set The Standard
“This exceptional reissue is one of the most valuable videos on the market for the advanced drummer. Wertico's creative drumming offers a welcome alternative to today's typically dogmatic, technique-laden instructional.”
- Modern Drummer, December 2009.

“No mere instructional video, Paul Wertico's concise offering shows the former Pat Metheny Group drummer's extraordinary musicality and intuitive approach to the instrument parlayed into an enjoyable if unconventional 110-minutes of instruction. Whether dissecting the finer points of grip or how to get the widest range of tones out of your cymbals, Wertico makes clear he's one of rhythm's deepest voyagers.”
- DRUM!, October 2009.

Paul Wertico Drum Philosophy offers a framework to playing the instrument not just as a drummer, but as a true musician. I highly recommend this DVD as it really does represent what I would consider a fresh approach to the drums from the perspective of pure musicality.”

“As you might have gleaned from this review, Paul is an extremely musical drummer whose ample chops take a backseat to his groove with the band, as it should be. I recommend this DVD to all drummers looking to improve their musicianship and creativity.”
- Tiger Bill's Drum Beat

Primary Instrument: Drums

Location: Skokie, IL

Willing to teach: Intermediate to advanced students


1968-Present - Teaching Private Drum Lessons
1992-2008 - Drum Set Instructor/Wind & Percussion Faculty of Northwestern University
2002-Present - Drum Set Instructor/Jazz Faculty of Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University
2008-Present - Assistant Professor and Head of Jazz and Contemporary Music at Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University

Current Private Drum Lesson Rate: $100.00 Per Hour
Lessons Are Made By Appointment

Clinic/Workshop Information:


In the clinic, Paul describes four types of drummers:
1) The type of drummer that both musicians & drummers appreciate
2) The type of drummer that only musicians appreciate
3) The type of drummer that only drummers appreciate
4) The type of drummer that neither musicians & drummers appreciate

Paul also covers in depth, a multitude of topics, concepts and techniques that apply to both drumming, and musicianship in general.
Drum Workshop drums, pedals and hardware
Paiste cymbals, sounds and gongs
Remo drumheads and World Percussion
Pro-Mark drumsticks, brushes, mallets, Tubz, KidzTubz, and misc. products.
Shure microphones and products
Slug percussion products
Grip Peddler products
Factory Metal Percussion
Stick Stuff
Alternative Mode/KAT products
XL Specialty cases
Sensaphonics products
Cakewalk products
Alesis products
Universal Audio products
iZotope products
The Drumometer
The Beatnik
The Slapstik
S-Hoop products
PC Drummer
Hear Technology products
Puresound Percussion
The Triplet Drum Glove
Power Wrist Builders
The Jinglemute
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