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Roosevelt jazz professor wins award for best live performance album

Posted: 06/04/2014

Paul Wertico, a professor of jazz at Roosevelt University and a member of the Chicago- based trio of Wertico Cain & Gray, has won top honors from the 13th Annual Independent Music Awards in the Live Performance category for the album Sound Portraits.

Known for championing original work by artists who follow their own muse, the IMA announced winners of international awards in more than 80 categories on Tuesday, June 3.

“This is a huge accomplishment for our trio and an amazing award to win,” said Wertico of Skokie, Ill., who won the IMA with trio members David Cain of Springfield, Ill., and Roosevelt alumnus Larry Gray of Chicago for their improvisational CD Sound Portraits, which came out last summer. 

Each year, the IMA and its judging panel of recording artists, record label executives, club and talent buyers, music journalists and film and TV music supervisors winnow down thousands of entries from around the world in order to give the annual awards, known as IMAs.

“While the number of outlets that promote independent artists and new music continues to grow, audiences for these new media entities don’t have the influence of mainstream outlets,” Martin Folkman, executive director of the IMA said in a June 3 press release about the awards. “The program’s goal is to gain exposure for extraordinary self-released and independent label artists and their recent recordings,” Folkman said in a statement.

Sound Portraits was recorded live in concert by Wertico Cain & Gray on March 16, 2013 at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield, Ill. The CD and DVD of the performance are currently available at CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes, as well as from the band’s website at

“This was a performance that was 100 percent improvised with everything we did coming spontaneously from the heart, as is the case with all of the music the band performs, including our latest CD, Out in SPACE. We are currently finishing up mixing and editing our most recent performance at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana-Thomas House, where the improvised music was inspired by the building’s architecture, and where the entire audience wore wireless headphones,” said Wertico, a seven-time Grammy Award winner and drummer who teaches jazz studies and gives drum-set lessons in the Music Conservatory at Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Last updated 09/18/2015