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Paul Wertico Trio: Don't Be Scared Anymore

Todd S. Jenkins By

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Following the untimely demise of the Igmod label, the Paul Wertico Trio made an enlivening shift to Premonition to produce their first studio disc. The trio format seems to offer Wertico a better chance to really stretch out and shine than the Pat Metheny Group or his own prior groups permitted. He selected near-perfect foils in guitarist John Moulder and bassist Eric Hochberg, who share both the leader’s quirky eclecticism and his understanding of the diverse elements that constitute good fusion.

The opening "Clybourn Strut" kicks off the affair in high gear, sounding like a herd of rhinos have commandeered a New Orleans second line. Next Moulder serves up musky late-night blues. Hochberg is thankfully up-front in the mix instead of playing second fiddle as is a bassist’s usual fate. His swooping runs lead the safari behind drum surges on "African Sunset." His overdubbed arco and pizzicato basses drive "The Visit," which is flavored by rainstick and cymbal shimmers. "Long Journey’s End" sounds more like an invigorated beginning as it bounds hell-bent for leather. "Justa Little Tuna" reminds me, of all things, of some of the folky little compositions proffered by the Art Ensemble of Chicago in their middle ECM period.

This album is like the soundtrack to the world’s coolest vacation; let it take you along for the ride.

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

Title: DON'T BE SCARED ANYMORE | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Premonition Records

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