Performers From Our 2019 Event

Paul Wertico

Hailed in the press as “One of the most versatile and musical drummers in music today,” Paul Wertico was a member of the Pat Metheny Group from 1983 to 2001. During that time, he won seven Grammy Awards (three for Best Jazz Fusion Performance, three for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance, and one for Best Rock Instrumental Performance), won numerous magazine polls, received several gold records, and played drums & percussion on David Bowie’s hit recording (with the Pat Metheny Group), “This Is Not America.”

He has played with countless artists and has performed in all 50 states and in over 60 countries. Paul has also played drums and percussion on hundreds of recordings, including Paul Winter’s Grammy nominated release, Earth: Voices Of A Planet, and on four of vocalist Kurt Elling’s Grammy nominated releases. He also hosted his own weekly radio show, Paul Wertico’s Wild World of Jazz, from 2010 to 2012.

Paul is also extremely active in the field of education. In addition to teaching drums privately for over 45 years, Paul is an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, and before becoming a full-time faculty member at CCPA, he served on the wind & percussion faculty of Northwestern University for 16 years. For over four decades, he’s conducted drum masterclasses, clinics, and workshops around the world and has written educational articles for numerous magazines. He also serves on the Advisory Board and the Pro-Panel of Modern Drummer magazine, the Education Committee of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, and he served five terms on the Board of Governors of The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter.

In 2004, Paul was a Chicago Tribune “Chicagoan of the Year.” In 2010, the Cape Breton International Drum Festival honored him with a “Life Time Achievement Award” for his “Major Contribution To The World Of Drumming & Education,” and that year he was also a recipient of the Montréal Drum Fest’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.” As Musical Director for the crowdsourced TV video series Inventing The Future, Paul was nominated for a 2012-2013 Emmy Award in the “Outstanding Achievement In Interactivity” category by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Midwest Chapter. He’s also the inventor of his signature product, TUBZ, made by Pro-Mark, who also makes the “Paul Wertico Signature Drum Stick”.

As a solo recording artist, Paul’s recordings have all received great critical praise and DownBeat magazine awarded Paul’s CD, Impressions of a City, 4.5 stars and listed it as one its “Best CDs of 2010.” His DVD, Paul Wertico’s Drum Philosophy, was named “One of the best drum videos of the last 25 years” by Modern Drummer magazine. LA Weekly even wrote “His recent records, such as 2000’s Don’t Be Scared Anymore and the new StereoNucleosis, are stunning examples of the electronic, rhythmic and intellectual directions jazz could be going.” Some of his latest releases include a DVD & CD by David Cain & Paul Wertico entitled Feast For The Senses; a CD by Paul Wertico & Frank Catalano entitled Topics of Conversation; a CD by Fabrizio Mocata, Gianmarco Scaglia & Paul Wertico entitled Free The Opera!; a DVD & CD by Wertico Cain & Gray entitled Sound Portraits (which won “Best Live Performance Album” in the 13th Annual Independent Music Awards (2014); Wertico Cain & Gray’s second CD entitled Out In SPACE; Wertico Cain & Gray’s second DVD & third CD entitled Organic Architecture; Wertico Cain & Gray’s fourth CD & downloadable video release entitled Realization (which was nominated for “Best Live Performance Album” and “Best Long Form Video” in the 15th Annual Independent Music Awards (2016); Wertico Cain & Gray’s fifth CD entitled Short Cuts – 40 Improvisations; and Wertico Cain & Gray’s sixth CD entitled AfterLive. In the international press, Paul’s drumming has also been compared to that of an “Impressionist painter,” and he has also been called “an inspired madman,” “a restless innovator,” “a true legend of jazz drums,” “a master of drumming insanity,” “a genius of the sticks,” and a recent review stated, “Wertico simply oozes musicality.” Last, but not least, Paul’s new drum instructional book TURN THE BEAT AROUND (A Drummer’s Guide to Playing “Backbeats” on 1 & 3) was published by Alfred Music on July 7, 2017.

Paul’s official website is:

Scott Mason

Scott Mason has been a professional bassist and jazz educator in the Chicago area for over thirty years.  It has been his privilege to share the stage with artists from diverse backgrounds, including Bob Hope, Aretha Franklin, The Fifth Dimension, Mary Wells, The Smothers Brothers, and many others.  In the jazz world he has performed with Bunky Green, Eddie Higgins, and Judy Roberts, and maintains several long-term relationships with local artists such as Marshall Vente, Edgar Gabriel, and Steve Schneck. As an educator, Mason has served on the faculties of The American Conservatory, Vandercook College, and Roosevelt University, where he is currently the Head of Jazz and Contemporary Music Studies, a position he has held since 2012.  A RU faculty member since 1984, he has created many of the classes in the undergraduate curriculum, including Jazz Theory I and II, Jazz Piano for Non-Majors I and II, and Jazz Essentials, a two-semester sequence in jazz history.  He holds a master’s degree from DePaul University, where he studied jazz arranging and composition with Frank Mantooth.

John Moulder

John Moulder is a guitarist and composer whose music has evolved from an assimilation of various musical traditions. His newest release entitled Decade: Memoirs (Origin 2018) was named one of the Best Ten Jazz Recordings of 2018 by the Chicago Tribune. Another recent release entitled Earthborn Tales of Soul and Spirit features Donny McCaslin and has been described as a contemporary musical/spiritual narrative. Earthborn Tales was a featured performance for the 2014 Made in Chicago concert series in Millennium Park. John’s compositions and playing are also featured on his earlier CDs entitled Awakening (Mo-Tonal Records 1993), Through the Open Door (Igmod/Mo-Tonal Records 1997), Trinity (Origin 2006) and Bifröst (Origin 2009) both named one of the Best Ten Jazz Recordings of 2006 and 2009 respectively by the Chicago Tribune, and on The Eleventh Hour: Live at the Green Mill (Origin 2012).
John continues to play in a variety of ensembles including the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra. Televised feature stories on John and his work have aired on Artbeat (WTTW) and Chicago Tonight (WTTW). He has played nationally and internationally at numerous festivals, clubs and concert halls and has performed or recorded with artists such as Eddie Harris, Bob Mintzer, Paul McCandless, Lyle Mays, Paul Wertico, Gary Burton, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Arild Andersen, Kurt Elling, and Terry Callier.  John received his master’s degree in music from Northwestern University. As an educator, he is currently a faculty member at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, Northwestern University, and Benedictine University. He has lectured, taught master classes and conducted clinics at universities, high schools, music institutes and other settings.

Victor Garcia

Victor Garcia has been performing with his group, CALJE, and freelancing in Chicago and beyond for the past 10 years.  He has had the opportunity to play with a multitude of artists from a wide variety of genres, such as Aretha Franklin, Arturo Sandoval, Spoon, Victor Manuelle, Nicholas Payton, La India, Fred Hersch, the Temptations, Steve Turre, Tito Puente, Jr., Paquito d’Rivera, Randy Brecker, Branford Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Dr. John, Joshua Redman, the Isley Brothers and a multitude of others.  His travels have taken him to Europe, Central America, and South America.  In addition, he has recorded dozens of albums, two of which garnered Grammy nominations in 2005 (Angel Melendez & the 911 Mambo Orchestra) and 2008 (Sones de Mexico), and one which was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2007 (Sones de Mexico). Victor also maintains a busy teaching schedule at the Music Institute of Chicago, Loyola University, Roosevelt University, and University of Illinois at Chicago.