Joe Policastro Trio
Joe Policastro – Bass
Dave Miller – Guitar
Mikel Avery – Drums
Chicago bassist Joe Policastro and his trio are well known for their engaging, enjoyable performances. Their third release, Screen Sounds, is no different. The group interprets 11 songs from classic films and TV shows, ranging from the influential 1961 Akira Kurosawa film, Yojimbo, to the long-running daytime soap opera The Young And The Restless.
Guitarist Dave Miller plays the melodies on a majority of the tracks, adding tasteful embellishments to the originals. Policastro and drummer Mikel Avery set the groove and create the ambience on each tune inspired by the movies and the serials themselves. For instance, on “Everybody’s Talkin’,” Miller’s twangy acerbic strings, over the bass and drums’ restless rumble, recreate the urban country contrast at the heart of John Schlesinger’s masterpiece Midnight Cowboy. Meanwhile, on the main theme from Twin Peaks, the band’s darkly hued vamps reflect the arcane intrigue of the eccentric cult drama.
One of the standouts of the album is the nine-and-a-half minute medley of two pieces from Francis Ford Coppola’s quintessential movie, The Godfather. Policastro states the classic melody with his unaccompanied, exquisite con-arco lines. The music seamlessly flows from one theme to another and showcases Avery’s roaring, machine gun-like solo and Miller’s muscular swagger. Policastro takes center stage with an exciting and piquant improvisation—like the rest of the recording—and does not venture far from the actual composition.
The disc closes on a whimsical tone with “Having An Average Weekend” from the Canadian sketch comedy Kids In The Hall. Over Policastro’s and Avery’s rock-inspired rhythms, Miller plays the energetic refrains with resonant chords.
Screen Sounds neither breaks new ground nor is terribly innovative. It is, however, pleasant and charming music that entertains without being demanding. Policastro and his colleagues have created a work that delights in its effervescence and breezy tones.
Label: JeruJazz Records