Catch the power trio of jazz extradorinaires, Paul Wertico (drums), Fareed Haque (guitar), and Larry Gray (bass), at Blu Jazz!
Hailed in the press as “One of the most versatile and musical drummers in music today”, Paul Wertico was born on January 5, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois. At age 12, he learned how to read music and play drums and percussion instruments in grade school. At age 14, he got his first drum set and taught himself how to play it. By age 15, he was already playing professionally with various rock and jazz bands. By the early '70s, he was a fixture of the Chicago music scene, playing and recording with a multitude of diverse artists including legendary jazz saxophonist Joe Daley, ethnomusicologist Paul Berliner, blues-rock vocalist/guitarist Ellen McIlwaine, rock singer Adrian Smith, folk singer Terry Callier, ECM-influenced guitarist Ross Traut, the fusion-based Simon & Bard Group, and a whole list of others. Always active in various realms of creative and avant-garde music, he most notably started two cooperative bands — Earwax Control with multi-instrumentalist Jeff Czech and keyboardist Gordon James, and Spontaneous Composition with multi-reed player Rich Corpolongo and bassist Doug Lofstrom.
In 1983, Wertico joined the Pat Metheny Group, starting a long and fruitful collaboration that continued for 18 years, resulting in eight recordings, several gold records, and the winning of seven Grammy Awards (three for “Best Jazz Fusion Performance,” three for “Best Contemporary Jazz Performance,” and one for “Best Rock Instrumental Performance”), as well as numerous magazine polls. In addition to the PMG recordings, he played on the Group's videos: More Travels, We Live Here - Live In Japan 1995 and Imaginary Day, as well as on Pat Metheny's Grammy winning solo 1992 project Secret Story and Pat Metheny's Secret Story - LIVE video. Wertico also played with Pat on the score and soundtrack for the movie The Falcon And The Snowman, which included the international hit song "This Is Not America" featuring David Bowie, and on the score to the movie Twice In A Lifetime. In February 1986, Wertico 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 Metheny's Special Quartet with performances in California, Japan, and Hong Kong. During most of 1993, he and his wife, Barbara Unger-Wertico, toured together as members of Pat's Secret Story band, performing in 18 countries around the world. Wertico left the PMG in 2001.
Wertico has played with countless jazz, rock, funk, R&B, blues, gospel, fusion and ethnic musicians, and was a member of both the Larry Coryell Trio and the Jeff Berlin Trio. He was also a member of the legendary Eastern European rock band, SBB, for seven years (2000-2007), as well as the Polish all-star jazz-fusion group, The Colors. When he is not touring, he divides his time between studio work, producing, session playing, and leading his own groups. In reviews, his playing has been compared to that of an “Impressionist painter,” while Wertico has also been described as “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.” In 2004, Wertico was honored as a Chicagoan of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, and he has also been honored by both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times with numerous Album of the Year nods.
Fareed Haque is a modern guitar virtuoso. Steeped in classical and jazz traditions, his unique command of the guitar and different musical styles inspire his musical ventures with tradition and fearless innovation.
Since 2011, Haque has returned to his first loves, jazz guitar and classical guitar. He has been busy performing and recording with his trio featuring legendary B3 virtuoso Tony Monaco, his own trio and jazz quartet, as well as his larger world music group the Flat Earth Ensemble.
Recent releases include the critically acclaimed Out of Nowhere featuring drummer Billy Hart and bassist George Mraz, The Flat Earth Ensemble’s latest release Trance Hypothesis, and The Tony Monaco/Fareed Haque release Furry Slippers that reached the top 10 in Jazz Radio Airplay.
IN addition, Fareed has performed at the Chicago, Detroit, and Java Jazz festivals and was featured as part of the Made in Chicago Series performing with his numerous groups at Millenium Park’s Pritzker Pavillion in Chicago. He also performed and arranged numerous classical programs as 2013 artist-in-residence for The Chicago Latin Music Festival, was featured on WBEZ, as well as WFMT’s Fiesta! radio programs, and has recorded his arrangement of Piazzolla’s 5 Tango Sensations, El Alevin by Eduardo Angulo Leo Brouwer’s Quintet for Guitar and String Quartet with the critically acclaimed Kaia String Quartet. Haque continues to tour and record extensively along with documenting his unique teaching methods in a series of best selling interactive video courses through TrueFire.
Born on Chicago’s south side, Larry Gray is considered by many to be one of jazz music’s finest double bassists. His impressive versatility and uncommon musical curiosity keep him in demand as both a leader and sideman.
Larry began his musical studies at the age of five when his father brought home an accordion and introduced him to his first teacher. Invigorated by this study, Larry added the guitar to his arsenal and studied piano seriously for many years thereafter. It was not until he was in his twenties that he decided to switch to the double bass. Larry went on to study classical music extensively, eventually adding the cello to his long list of loved instruments. His principal teachers were Joseph Guastafeste, longtime principal bassist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and cellist Karl Fruh, a highly regarded soloist and teacher. Under Mr. Fruh's guidance, he received bachelors and masters degrees in cello performance from the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University.
Throughout his long and varied career, Larry has worked with numerous exceptional artists and jazz legends, including McCoy Tyner, Jack DeJohnette, Danilo Perez, Branford Marsalis, Benny Green, Freddy Cole, Benny Golson, Steve Turre, George Coleman, Lee Konitz, Bobby Hutcherson, Sonny Fortune, Ira Sullivan, Junior Mance, David "Fathead" Newman, Willie Pickens, Ann Hampton Callaway, Charles McPherson, Antonio Hart, Jackie McLean, Sonny Stitt, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Al Cohn, Randy Brecker, Nicholas Payton, Kurt Elling, Eric Alexander, Phil Woods, Jon Faddis, Roscoe Mitchell, Von Freeman, Wilbur Campbell, Eddie Harris, and Les McCann. In addition, he has collaborated with guitarists Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, and Tal Farlow, as well trumpeters Donald Byrd, Harry "Sweets" Edison, and Tom Harrell, among others.
Larry continues to tour extensively, performing at jazz festivals and clubs around the globe, including the Umbria Jazz Festival, the Havana Jazz Festival, Rio Sao Paulo Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, ECM Festival in Bielsko-Biala, Poland, the Poznan Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, the Montreaux Detroit Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Hollywood Bowl, Village Vanguard, Blue Note (New York and Tokyo), Kennedy Center, and the Ravinia Festival, with such jazz luminaries as Marian McPartland, Clark Terry, Nancy Wilson, Frank Morgan, James Moody, Larry Coryell, Louis Bellson, Barry Harris, Dorothy Donegan, Monty Alexander, Frank Wess, Joe Williams, Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Band, Kenny Drew Jr., and most recently, Ramsey Lewis.
As a classical musician, Larry played several seasons with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, including a year as principal bass. He worked on many occasions with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under master conductors Erich Leinsdorf, Rafeal Kubelik, Carlo Maria Guilini, and Sir George Solti. He also was the featured double bassist with Lyric Opera for the world premiere of the opera Amistad.