A world-class, all-around drummer who put in two decades with the celebrated guitar hero Pat Metheny, the versatile Paul Wertico has logged and recorded many frequent player miles with a number of other artists, including Larry Coryell, Kurt Elling, Jerry Goodman and Paul Winter.
Technically, Wertico’s new release, Stereonucleosis
, is as good as it gets.The album is a sonic journey that travels from dense, African-flavored polyrhythms (You Can Get There from Here
) to spacious soundscapes (Somewhere in Between
). Throughout the varied musical landscape, Wertico showcases his penchant for polyrhythmic hookups and flaunts his fascination with found sounds and the notion of juxtaposing odd meters, tones and textures.
"In the past, some people have said that my band’s music made them think of the Tony Williams Lifetime, while other people have said it reminded them of King Crimson, Mahavinshu Orchestra and Jimi Hendrix," Wertico says in a press release. "But on this recording, there are also many things that are purely my own vision. And I was able to do it because (A440 president) Kent Anderson gave me the green light to do whatever I wanted to do to produce this record.
"Obviously, I’m thrilled because that kind of attitude coming from a record company nowadays is pretty much a miracle."
Indeed, it is. Which is why so much mainstream music is similar, with artists not being given room for creativity.
, Wertico is creative and then some.Feeling liberated to fully express himself, Wertico delved into his music with a passion, documenting ideas when inspiration struck, while staying wide open to in-the-moment experimentation.
"While there are some intense drum solos on this recording, my goal was not to try to impress people with my chops on this album," Wertico says. "Instead, I’m really hoping to make listeners ‘feel’ something with this music and take them on a journey."Wertico’s working trio of John Moulder on guitar and Eric Hochberg on bass is augmented by Paul’s wife, Barbara Wertico, a classically trained pianist who provides a number of intriguing keyboard parts here, and the talented 19-year-old recording engineer/multi-instrumentalist Brian Peters, who makes key contributions on guitar, bass and violin.
Among the highlights of Stereonucleosis
are the percussive opener, Corner Conversation
, the lively We Needed the Rain
, the hauntingly cool Desert Sky
, the intimate What Would the World Be
and the funky groove Almost Sixteen
, which features a stylish vocal chant by Hochberg.
"There are CDs where you document a specific performance, and then there are CDs where you document a complete artistic vision, and these are two very different concepts," Wertico says. "I’ve done live CDs with Union, SBB, Larry Coryell’s trio and with my own trio, where we would record the whole thing in three hours because we were documenting a performance.
was not about a live performance; it was about the final product being something to give to the world as my personal statement."
And what a statement it is. With the hope of getting airplay, Stereonucleosis
is bound to shake up complacent radio programmers and bored listeners - giving both music that makes them feel something again.