joe policastro trio

RECORDINGS


Joe Policastro Trio

Pops! (2016 JeruJazz Records)

1. Wives and Lovers
2. Harvest Moon
3. Creepin'
4. Wave of Mutilation
5. More Than a Woman
6. Condition of the Heart
7. Diamonds and Pearls
8. Me and Mrs. Jones
9. Us and Them
10. Take It with Me
11. Drive

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Wives And Lovers

Harvest Moon

Diamonds and Pearls

Joe Policastro, bass, Dave Miller, guitar, Mikel Avery, drums

with special guests: Andy Brown, guitar, Andy Pratt, guitar

The sophomore release of the Joe Policastro Trio celebrates Pops For Champagne, the venue that gave birth to the group, and highlights the "pop" music that has a become signature part of their sound.

Featuring music by Prince, Tom Waits, Stevie Wonder, The Pixies, and others

Joe Policastro Trio

West Side Story Suite (2013 JeruJazz Records)

1. Prologue
2. Something's Coming
3. Maria
4. Jet Song
5. America
6. One Hand, One Heart
7. Cool
8. Tonight
9. Gee, Officer Krupke
10. I Feel Pretty
11. Somewhere

Only $15.00
(Includes Shipping)

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Maria

Jet Song

America

Joe Policastro, bass, Dan Effland, guitar, Adam Sorensen, drums

The debut release of the Joe Policastro Trio is a fresh, original take on the Bernstein classic. An arranged suite for guitar trio, the album highlights the interplay of the ensemble while still leaving plenty of space for improvisation.

VIDEOS


America

CD release party for "POPS!"

Harvest Moon

CD release party for "POPS!"

Creepin'

CD release party for "POPS!"

1999

CD release party for "POPS!"

About The Trio


Joe Policastro

Bass

www.joepolicastro.com

Dave Miller

Guitar

www.davemillerguitar.com

Mikel Avery

Drums

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Joe Policastro Trio

What eventually became the Joe Policastro Trio took shape in 2010 when bassist Joe Policastro landed a 3-night a week gig at Pops For Champagne in downtown Chicago. What many would have treated as a "background gig" quickly developed into an incubator for its members to write, arrange, and develop a collective voice in the way that only a band can over time. The group features guitarist Dave Miller and drummer Mikel Avery. Within this time, the band has developed a singular approach to "pop" music. While firmly rooted in jazz, the band's open-minded, inclusive nature also brings rock, old-school funk, soul, brazilian, and free improvisation to the surface while still keeping the aesthetic of an acoustic trio intact.

Their debut recording, West Side Story Suite For Jazz Trio (2013), features the original lineup with Dan Effland on guitar and Adam Sorensen on drums. Their sophomore release, Pops! (2016) celebrates Pops For Champagne, the venue that gave birth to the group, and highlights the "pop" music that has become a signature part of its sound. It features the current lineup along with special guests Andy Brown and Andy Pratt, both of whom have regularly appeared with the trio.

Press

"Policastro…is a melody-minded bassist who prioritizes group cohesion over individual displays of virtuosity. His solo on The Pixies' "Wave Of Mutilation" best exemplifies his improvisational style, which bears the mark of solid, unadorned craftsmanship."
  - Brian Zimmerman, Downbeat, July 2016

"This is … one of those pop goes jazz sets that opens the ears nicely. Everyone on board is right on point letting the world know once again that Chicago jazz is alive and well."
  - Chris Spector, Midwest Record, June 11, 2016

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Shows


Regular Performances

Every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, 9 PM - midnight
Pops For Champagne, Chicago, IL
No cover, no minimum

Upcoming Performances

Thursday, April 20, 7 PM - 10:30
210 Restaurant & Live Music Lounge, Highwood, IL
No cover, no minimum

Double Bill: Twin Talk/Joe Policastro Trio
Wednesday, May 10, 9 PM - midnight
Cafe Mustache, Chicago, IL
Suggested Donation

Thursday, May 11, 7:30 - 8:30
Jazz/Blues Salon Concert
Northbrook Public Library Auditorium, Northbrook, IL
Free

Wednesday, May 31, 9 PM - midnight
Flood Music Series
Cafe Mustache, Chicago, IL
Suggested Donation

 

Press


Press Kit

High Resolution Photos
(click images to download)

Download Biography (PDF) →

Policastro…is a melody-minded bassist who prioritizes group cohesion over individual displays of virtuosity. His solo on The Pixies' "Wave Of Mutilation" best exemplifies his improvisational style, which bears the mark of solid, unadorned craftsmanship. Brian Zimmerman, Downbeat, July 2016

READ FULL REVIEW →

Before there was the Great American Songbook, there were simply great American songs. The tunes we now identify as jazz standards—so many of them composed by just a handful of scribes working from cramped offices on Tin Pan Alley—weren't written with that lofty songbook in mind, but were instead created as popular songs, fodder for Broadway productions and Hollywood films from the 1920s and '30s. Popular song continues to enrich the jazz canon, and on his latest disc, Pops, Chicago bassist Joe Policastro makes the case that such musical hybridity is worth celebrating. In doing so, Policastro and his trio with guitarist Dave Miller and drummer Mikel Avery join a growing assembly of artists who embrace pop experimentalism, including keyboardist Robert Glasper, whose 2015 album Covered (Blue Note) featured songs by Kendrick Lamar and John Legend, and vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, whose latest release, For One To Love (Mack Avenue), featured a dapper interpretation of Burt Bacharach's "Wives And Lovers." The Bacharach staple also makes an appearance on Policastro's album, opening the program of 11 tunes with all the spunk and steamy intimacy of a mid-century cocktail party. (This is fitting, as the song is the album's sole composition from the 1960s.) But it's the subsequent decade—with its overtones of disco and funk—that contributes the bulk of the material to this disc. The trio spins Stevie Wonder's "Creepin'," (1974) into a sweet and breezy jazz bossa, and later injects The Bee Gees' "More Than A Woman" (1977) with a shot of crisp, bracing energy, courtesy of guest guitarist Andy Brown's sweeping lines. Elsewhere, the group unwinds Billy Paul's "Me And Mrs. Jones" into a silken ballad and recasts Pink Floyd's "Us And Them" as a spacey jazz-rock investigation. Policastro, co-leader of the Gerry Mulligan tribute bands Jeru and the Mulligan Mosaic Big Band/Nonet, is a melody-minded bassist who prioritizes group cohesion over individual displays of virtuosity. His solo on The Pixies' "Wave Of Mutilation" best exemplifies his improvisational style, which bears the mark of solid, unadorned craftsmanship. The song, repainted with dark, nuanced colors, joins Prince's "Condition Of The Heart" (part of a touching two-track homage to the late guitar maestro) and The Cars' "Drive" as the album's representatives from the 1980s. More recent fare includes a calm, understated cover of Tom Waits' "Take It With Me" (1999) and a version of Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" (1991) reconfigured as—what else—a Western swing tune.

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This is … one of those pop goes jazz sets that opens the ears nicely. Everyone on board is right on point letting the world know once again that Chicago jazz is alive and well. Chris Spector, Midwest Record, June 11, 2016

READ FULL REVIEW →

Pops!, by the Joe Policastro Trio, is not only a new CD, but also represents a possible new movement in jazz… Joe and his group … play everything with conviction and sincerity as they try to bring out new qualities in this collection of well-known pop and rock songs. John Sanders, Jazz Music Archives, June 15, 2016

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…engaging inventive music Michael Steinman, Jazz Lives, June 18, 2016

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Policastro’s bass seems to be the glue that holds this trio solidly in place. Dee Dee McNeil, Musical Memoirs, June 25, 2016

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Wonderfully cool renditions of compositions by Burt Bacharach, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Tom Waits and Pink Floyd… A very steady work of musicianship. The Jazz Page by D. Glenn Daniels, July 1, 2016

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'POPS!' is the Joe Policastro Trio’s way of reminding us that not all Jazz comes from Jazz originals…There is emotional attachment to the originals and the trio makes them sing with a new voice and new meaning. The Jazz Owl by Travis Rogers, Jr., July 1, 2016

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Policastro and his crew make a strong argument for all of these songs as jazz vehicles, and they have a ton of fun in the process. You will, too. Rick Anderson, CD Hotlist, July 4, 2016

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Pops is an album that demonstrates the depth of well chosen modern pop tunes that lend themselves well to jazz improvisation, in an acoustic straight ahead setting... Joe Policastro’s trio is well honed from their long time live show, and since they thrive on pop tunes, it’s a bright indication of the road ahead. CJ Shearn, Jazz Views, July 6, 2016

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This suave and enjoyable album should have wide appeal among both jazz fans and listeners of other genres. Hrayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz Magazine, July 8, 2016

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Relaxed playing by skilled instrumentalists who blend with seemingly effortless ease. Bruce Crowther, Jazz Mostly, July 10, 2016

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[Policastro] provides a powerful, steady, foundation for the group. His arco work is beautifully ‘in tune’ when he gets the opportunity to state melodies or improvise solos - that’s not an easy thing to achieve! Dave Brownlow, Bebop Spoken Here, July 13, 2016

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…pure joy to listen to... [they] always come up with interesting and rejuvenating twists and turns. Matthias Kirsch, Gina Loves Jazz, August 8, 2016

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There are some truly outstanding gems in these heartfelt covers that go above and beyond the usual worship. Carol Banks Weber, AXS, August 17, 2016

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Additional Reading

All About Jazz by Mark Sullivan, July 25, 2016

Jazzweekly by George Harris, September 20, 2016

CJ Shearn's Best of 2016 at Jazz Views, December 9, 2016

Michael Doherty’s Music Log, December 12, 2016

Contact/Booking


For all bookings and additional information, please contact Joe by phone or joepolicastrobass@yahoo.com.

Phone: 773.503.2339

Mailing List

Use the following form to join the mailing list:

Publicity

Two For The Show Media
Chris DiGirolamo
(631) 298-7823
chris@twofortheshowmedia.com

Radio

Jazzdog Promotions
Shaunna Machosky (east coast)
(412) 600-53239
jazzdog@me.com

Cindy Budd (west coast)
(818) 299-1202
marvdog124@aol.com

Social Media