The JOE POLICASTRO TRIO is a Chicago-based jazz trio led by bassist Joe Policastro featuring guitarist Dave Miller and drummer Mikel Avery. While firmly rooted in jazz, the band’s open-minded, inclusive nature also brings rock, pop, old-school funk, soul, Brazilian, and free improvisation to the surface while still keeping the aesthetic of an acoustic trio intact.
Known for its eclectic taste and approach, the Joe Policastro Trio “makes the case that such musical hybridity is worth celebrating.” “Policastro…is a melody-minded bassist who prioritizes group cohesion over individual displays of virtuosity.” (Brian Zimmerman, Downbeat)
The Joe Policastro Trio is a band that can turn “pop tart into Jazz art” (Travis Rogers, Jazz Owl) and one that “should have wide appeal among both jazz fans and listeners of other genres.” (Hrayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz Magazine)
The trio has released three albums to date. Their most recent album, Screen Sounds, is an assemblage of movie/TV music re-imagined by the trio. Other releases by the band include 2013’s West Side Story Suite For Jazz Trio, and 2016’s POPS!, a collection of jazz interpretations of “pop” tunes from the 60s-90s and a nod to Chicago’s Pops For Champagne where the band continues its long-running, three-nights-a-week residency. They will soon be releasing their fourth album focusing on their original music entitled Nothing Here Belongs.
“The trio have refined their layered blend of the familiar and faintly far out, playing three nights a week at Chicago’s Pops For Champagne and through extensive roadwork. Their deep understanding of each other and deft analysis of choice repertoire repays repeat and close listening.” (Michael Jackson, Downbeat)
“The group’s terrific new album, Screen Sounds, applies a diversity of approaches to all kinds of source material, consistently retaining the essence of the original works while boldly imprinting the trio’s personality.” (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader)
“There are always new wrinkles to be found in the familiar. That’s a political stance that seems to serve the Joe Policastro Trio well…putting alternately gritty and focused touches on songs we’ve come to love….Policastro and company have found their niche tapping into different breeds of treasured songs.” (Dan Billawsky, All About Jazz)
True bands are a rarity in jazz these days, especially ones who hone their craft as consistently as this one does. Beyond Chicago, the band has been extensively playing together throughout the US and Canada having even performed for President Barack Obama in October of 2016. As sidemen, Joe Policastro (Phil Woods, Howard Alden, Pat and Debby Boone, Jeff Hamilton, Diane Schuur), Dave Miller (Clarice Assad, Patricia Barber, Algernon), and Mikel Avery (Joshua Abrams, Theaster Gates, Rob Mazurek) have performed and recorded with a wide array of musicians but dedicate collectively to this trio.