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With a fusion of jazz, rock and soulful blues, Paul Wertico features blazing guitars atop propulsive rhythms for his second trio album. The Chicago lineup works well together with empathy, while performing original compositions from each of them. The drummer-led unit drives through a variety of familiar rhythms, including classical ostinatos, ride cymbal swings, and a New Orleans shuffle.
John Moulder’s Duke Ellington-like swing feature on "Liftoff" settles in with a lyrical message that crosses genres easily. Similarly, Eric Hochberg’s melodic bass on "The Visit" provides a universal message; this one surrounded by mood-altering, eerie effects.
The trio’s innovative combination of sounds normally found in hard rock arenas makes a bold statement about the crossroads facing modern jazz. However, the session falters in places, allowing the formula to become tiring. Such is the case on "Long Journey’s End," where rock-styled guitars, bass and drums carry repetition beyond the usual limit. Wertico, an articulate drummer, solos too often throughout the program. And yet it’s the drummer who pulls it all together with subtle changes in rhythm and drive.
If a rhythm-maker can grab you like Ravel’s "Bolero" would – even while the repetition drones on – then he’s held your interest long enough for you to tie together the sweeter parts.
Track Listing: Clybourn Strut; The Underground; African Sunset; The Visit; Liftoff; Long Journey's End; Taliaville; Justa Little Tuna; Testament
Personnel: Paul Wertico: drums, percussion; John Moulder: guitar; Eric Hochberg: basses, guitars, trumpet
I was first exposed to jazz through my father who played professionally and nurtured me into music at a young age and had me playing guitar with his quartet in my early teens.
I switched to piano in my mid teens, and with a strong ear for music, managed to put myself through college playing and singing Jazz / Pop / Standards in the late '70s and early '80s in the Dallas, Texas area both as a solo performer as well as with groups.
I have built and operated a number of recording studios and enjoy writing, recording, producing, and performing live.
I also typically cover guitar and bass for my own projects.