Paul Wertico's Mideast/Midwest Alliance
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Paul Wertico's Mideast/Midwest Alliance

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The best kept secret in music


"Drum! Magazine - Impressions of a City"

”One of the most experimental acoustic drummers around, the former Pat Metheny backer offers 18 tenuously linked tracks of bleating sax, knotty guitar, boffo synths, and sundry rhythmic statements… Multiple music voices are accompanied by freer-than-free rhythms that nonetheless feel deliberate and coolly measured. 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! Magazine, January 2010.

"The A.V. Club - Impressions of a City"

”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.

- The A.V. Club (The Onion)

"Howard Reich (Chicago Tribune) - 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.

"-Matt Marshall, JazzInside NY - Impressions of a City"

”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, JazzInside NY, November 2009.

"All About Jazz - Impressions of a City"

”Every Wertico album possesses, to some extent, free improvisation, making the completely spontaneous ‘Impressions of a City’ an inevitable progression… an hour-long suite that’s truly only experienced as a singular entity… Far from an easy listen, ‘Impressions of a City’ remains a compelling one. Closing in on nearly a decade since his departure from Pat Metheny Group, it’s time to stop thinking about Wertico in that context, and recognize him as a stylistically unbound, improvisationally intrepid player, composer and – as important as either on ‘Impressions of a City’ – conceptualist.” - -John Kelman, All About Jazz, December 2009.

"-Brad Walseth, - Impressions of a City"

”… 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.

"69 Faces of Rock - Impressions of a City"

”4 ½ Stars! ’Impressions of a City’ is an incredibly sharp release… there is a lot more hidden there than just what an initial listen may offer… Both players from Marbin make a very distinctive contribution… It’s like having a band within a band… The harmony of the players is what makes this very orchestral… ‘Impressions of a City’ is a combination of beauty and disturbance. Musically the album is reflective of life itself in a soundtrack sort of way. It’s a record with more than one heart.”
- -Mark Kadzielawa, 69 Faces of Rock, January 2010

"Liner Notes - Impressions of a City"

”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)

"Downbeat Magazine - Impressions of a City"

4.5 Stars

"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 be even greater, helping to create a compelling, and not all together scattershot series of musical surprises." - John Ephland, Downbeat Magazine, March 2010


Some of the many other jazz artists Paul has performed with include:
Larry Coryell
Eddie Harris
Lee Konitz
Ben Sidran
Dave Liebman
Herbie Mann

Lew Tabackin
Chico Freeman
Sam Rivers
Terry Gibbs
Buddy DeFranco
Bob Mintzer

Muhal Richard Abrams
Ken McIntyre
Von Freeman
Marcus Belgrave
Ira Sullivan
Bunky Green

Joshua Breakstone
Tim Hagans
Milt Hinton
Roscoe Mitchell
Rick Margitza
Evan Parker

Jay McShann
Art Porter
Lester Bowie
Surgey Kuryokhin
Randy Brecker
John McNeal

Scott Hamilton
Jaco Pastorius
Judy Roberts
Mars Williams
Emmett Chapman
Gene Harris

Richie Cole
Willie Pickens
Lou Levy
George Freeman
Ron Carter
Tomasz Stanko

Joe Daley
Jim Pepper
Fareed Haque
Miroslav Vitous
Steve Coleman
Paul McCandless

Jodie Christian
Matthew Garrison
Donald Harrison
Franz Jackson
Howard Levy
Tiger Okoshi

Dave Holland
Ari Brown
Bennie Powell
Alan Pasqua
Bob Sheppard
Darryl Jones

Gil Goldstein
Kenny Davern
William Russo
Rebecca Parris
Alan Eager
Pete Cosey

Phil Markowitz
Ron Blake
Bobby Enriquez
Henry Butler
Marvin Stamm
Patricia Barber

Sonny Fortune
Dr. Lonnie Smith
George Coleman
Eldee Young
Kahil El'Zabar
Famoudou Don Moye

Niels Lan Doky
Arild Andersen
Bendik Hofseth
Paolo Fresu
Richie Patterson
Carl Fontana

Brian Lynch
Curtis Fuller
Eddie Henderson
Benny Golson
Terrance Blanchard
Tierney Sutton

Mark Egan
Arthur Blythe
Hal Russell
Buster Williams
Fred Hopkins
Jeff Berlin

Chris Vadala
Ken Chaney
Lynn Seaton
Dr. Lou Fischer
John Campbell
Fred Hamilton

Bill Evans
Diane Schuur
Truck Parham
Ralph Moore
Eddie Calhoun
Hamid Drake

Delfayo Marsalis
Peter Appleyard
John LaBarbara
Eric Schneider
John Young
Javon Jackson

Junior Mance
David 'Fathead' Newman
Gerald Veasley
Leon Sash
Buddy Childers
Eddie Higgins



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. In 2004, Paul was named one of the "Chicagoans of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune.

In 1983, Paul became a member of the Pat Metheny Group. During that time he won seven Grammy Awards with the PMG: three for Best Jazz Fusion Performance: "First Circle" - 1984, "Still Life (Talking)" - 1987, and "Letter From Home" - 1989; three for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance: "The Road To You" - 1993, "We Live Here" - 1995, and "Imaginary Day" - 1998; one for Best Rock Instrumental Performance: "Roots Of Coincidence" - 1998; as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance: "Follow Me" - 1998. He also played on Pat Metheny's Grammy winning solo project: "Secret Story" - 1992. Paul played on the Group's videos "More Travels" and "We Live Here - Live In Japan 1995", and on Pat Metheny's "Secret Story - LIVE" video. He also played with Pat on the score and soundtrack for the movie "The Falcon and the Snowman", which included the hit song "This Is Not America" featuring David Bowie; and on the score to the movie "Twice In A Lifetime". In February 1986, Paul joined Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, and Ernie Watts in Argentina for a week of critically acclaimed engagements, and the summer of 1988 saw a revival of the 'Special Quartet' with performances in California, Japan, and Hong Kong. During 1993, Paul and his wife, Barbara Unger-Wertico, toured together as members of Pat's 'Secret Story' band, performing in 18 countries around the world. In October 1997, the Pat Metheny Group released their latest recording entitled "Imaginary Day". Paul left the PMG in February of 2001.

When not on the road, Paul resides in the Chicagoland area where he is engaged in many creative activities:

His involvement with "Word Jazz" creator Ken Nordine includes playing drums and percussion and doing drum programming for a number of Ken's radio shows for National Public Radio and for five of Ken's recordings: "Triple Talk", "Grandson Of Word Jazz", "Ear Package", "Upper Limbo" and "Transparent Mask".
He co-led and recorded an album with the critically acclaimed avant-garde trio 'Spontaneous Composition', and continues to co-lead the enigmatic group 'Earwax Control', which won NARAS's "ORA" (Outrageous Recording Award) in 1990 for the song "Dogshit Blues". He also produced 'Earwax Control's' second release, a CD entitled "2 LIVE" for the Naim Audio label.
He co-leads the free spirited band 'Trio New'; and leads five other highly adventurous and unique groups: Paul Wertico's 'Strapagander', Paul Wertico's 'Quintet Thing', the Paul Wertico Group, Paul Wertico's Wicked Sics, and the Paul Wertico Trio, which released a live CD entitled "Live In Warsaw!" in 1998 and a studio CD entitled "Don't Be Scared Anymore".
He keeps a busy schedule as a freelance artist (playing with both local and internationally known jazz artists); a studio musician (playing drums and percussion on countless jingles); a session player (playing drums and percussion on scores of record dates).
He is involved in playing on and/or producing a number of new albums of Chicagoland artists, including guitarist John Moulder's CDs "Awakening" and "Through The Open Door"; trumpet player Bobby Lewis' five CDs: "Inside This Song", "Passion Flower", "Here I Go Again", "Flugel Gourmet" and "Just Havin' Some Fun"; and vocalist Kurt Elling's four CD's: "Close Your Eyes" (which received a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Jazz Performance - 1995), "The Messenger" (which received a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Jazz Performance - 1997), "This Time It's Love" (which received a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Jazz Performance - 1998) and "Man In The Air" (which received a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Jazz Performance - 2003).
He programs drum parts for a writing team that includes his wife, Barbara, and noted songwriter/singer Jim Peterik. Together, they have written songs for groups such as the Doobie Brothers and Mecca.
In addition, Paul was also elected three times to serve on the Board of Governors of the Chicago Chapter of NARAS (The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences).
Hailed as "one of the most musical and well-rounded drummers in music today", Paul's versatility has enabled him