Paul Wertico

Paul Wertico.

Paul Wertico’s breakthrough gig was as Pat Metheny’s drummer from 1983 to 2001, a tenure of 18 years that spanned the group’s greatest period of popularity. For this guitarist who was notoriously fussy about his drummers, Paul provided more than just the right fit for the music at hand— he also added the acoustic and sonic reach that elevated the Metheny group to seven Grammy Awards and a fistful of gold records.

He has been recognized by the drum community as well, appearing on the covers of several drum magazines, winning annual polls in the fusion and electric Jazz categories, and headlining numerous drum festivals, two of which have presented him with lifetime achievement awards.

Paul has gone on to fascinating collaborations with the likes of Larry Coryell and Paul Winter. His musical experimentation has flourished— critics compare him to an impressionist painter and an “inspired sonic madman” alike. For a great example— look for the “kitchen sink” drum solo on his website. He plays everything onstage, including, yes, a kitchen sink. He has even invented a couple of non-standard drumsticks in his quest for the sounds he seeks.

Equally intriguing to me as the host of Drummeradio, though, is his great distinction as an educator. His wisdom on the approach to the instrument is made clear in the titles alone of his two instructional videos: Fine-tuning Your Performance, and Paul Wertico’s Drum Philosophy. This approach transcends technique. It goes a long way towards explaining the hundreds of invitations to perform master classes and clinics, as well as those many drum festivals.

He teaches Jazz Studies at Roosevelt University in Chicago; recently we had to break off a phone conversation as he was due to listen with his students to some music on on an extremely high-end audio system. I am thoroughly impressed by a teacher who sees the the value of pure, quality sound as a first-rate teaching tool, and am also impressed that he was there to listen along with them. I am also intimidated by a radio guest who hosted his own radio show for three years: Paul Wertico’s Wild World of Jazz.

Listen to the Paul Wertico Podcast

Paul Wertico Playlist

Love for Sale — The Buddy Rich Big Band

Album: Big Swing Face, 1967
Drums: Buddy Rich

Shapes of Things — Jeff Beck

Album: Truth, 1968
Drums: Mick Waller

Forget All About It — Nazz

Album: Nazz Nazz, 1969
Drums: Thom Mooney

You Make it Easy — Tony Williams Lifetime

Album: The Old Bum’s Rush, 1972
Drums: Tony Williams

One of a Kind Love Affair — The Spinners

Album: The Spinners, 1972
Drums: Earl Young

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction — Blue Cheer

Album: Outsideinside, 1968
Drums: Paul Whaley

Equipoise — Roy Haynes Hip Ensemble

Album: Roy Haynes Hip Ensemble, 1971
Drums: Roy Haynes

Libra — Max Roach

Album: Members, Don’t Git Weary, 1968
Drums: Max Roach

In Time — Sly and the Family Stone

Album: Fresh, 1973
Drums: Andy Newmark

Going Home — Ernie Watts Quartet

Album: Planet Love, 1969
Drums: Robert Morin

Fourth Dynasty — Ernie Watts Quartet

Album: Planet Love, 1969
Drums: Robert Morin

Paul Wertico’s Website