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CD REVIEW: Joe Policastro, Nothing Here Belongs

Joe Policastro, Nothing Here Belongs

Joe Policastro – bass

Dave Miller – guitar

Mikel Avery – drums

Bassist Joe Policastro showcases his compositional skills on his engaging fourth release, Nothing Here Belongs. Policastro contributes six originals that thematically complement his unique interpretation of three rock covers.

In addition to seamless camaraderie the three musicians exhibit their improvisational prowess as they take turns in the spotlight.

On a contemplative, darkly hued, rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” for instance Policastro solos with lyricism and elegance as the music ebbs and flows around him. Drummer Mikel Avery lays down a restless expectant rhythm while guitarist Dave Miller lets loose passionate and resonant chords.

The soulful “Bloodshot” features simmering, swaggering refrains. Miller extemporizes at an unhurried laid-back pace and blues drenched funky lines. The band creates a cinematic ambience with short overlapping vamps and their collective earthy sound.

The lullaby like “In the Quiet”, is an intimate warm tune with Miller’s pizzicato tones chiming against Policastro’s thumping strings. Avery softly brushes the drums for a soothing cadence that has a touch of understated urgency.

The whimsical “Oceans of Notions” opens with Avery’s lithe percussive bursts over which the strings exchange crisp and inventive phrases. Policastro demonstrates his virtuosity with an agile and delightfully complex embellishments of the melody.

The most expansive track is the incongruously named “Plain Song”. This intricate composition allows all three musicians to amply demonstrate their individual instrumental voices as well as the group’s inner synergy.

This charming album ends on a high note with an effervescent take on the Talking Head song “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”. The piece retains its original idiosyncrasy and gains plenty spontaneity as Policastro and his sidemen retell it with suavity and relish.

Nothing Here Belongsis an engaging and enjoyable work that highlights Policastro’s evolution in a fresh direction. It is also a testament of the trio’s ability to tackle any material with the same high caliber musicianship, regardless of the source.

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