The Joe Policastro Trio arrived in Buffalo from Chicago on Sunday, November 11. As part of their two-week tour, they are crisscrossing the region and Canada. Revisiting previous album projects and providing a sneak preview of their upcoming release of new originals. The show they performed at Pausa Art House continues to demonstrate why their unique inventiveness is widely-acclaimed.
The trio opened with Living In America from their West Side Story Suite album. An engaging and intricate number that captures your attention with its familiar melody. The trio, throughout two sets, presented uniquely arranged tunes that bridge familiar melodies with improvisational exploring.
One example that held the audience spellbound was their interpretation of the theme from the movie The Godfather. Policastro opens with just a solo on upright bass. Drawing the audience into the haunting yet beautiful melody of the theme. The song then evolves into an explosive interchange between the three jazz musicians. You can almost envision the chaos of the movie in this tune. It ends with coming back to the familiar. An experience it was.
Experience is an apropos word when thinking about this trio. Their efforts in creating memorable jazz-arranged tunes that harken back to songs we have loved and remember are done with an impeccable high-degree of artistry. A case in point is their melding of several songs of Prince. And, another is their alluringly beautiful rendition of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon.
The trio of Dave Miller on guitar, Mike Avery on drums, and Joe Policastro on upright bass have developed a deep chemistry. The music is riveting, and each delivers masterful performances. Their ability to make a copious amount of music together causes the audience to wonder how just three instruments are in their presentation.
The promise for this trio is exciting. Playing an original tune entitled Speak Slowly, based loosely on Speak Low, was spectacular and their unique originality shined.
The trio plans to continue touring in 2019 to introduce their forthcoming CD. The Buffalo response to this highly-acclaimed trio has been so positive, it is no wonder the trio want to visit Buffalo once again. Let us hope they do!
Here is another fantastic gallery of photos by JazzBuffalo contributor – photographer Jack Zuff. And, Mike Avery certainly has one of the most unique drum collections in jazz!