Hailed by Downbeat for its “deft analysis of a choice repertoire,” and by the Chicago Reader for its “diversity of approaches to all kinds of source material,” the forward-thinking Joe Policastro Trio returns with its fifth album, Sounds Unheard 2012-2022.
Assembling recordings made by the trio from its earliest iteration to the present day, the album is comprised of new material and unused tracks from the band’s previous albums. With the exception of one original, Sounds Unheard highlights the trio’s ability to remake unlikely songs in its own raw, highly idiosyncratic fashion.
For over a decade, the trio held court in a thrice-weekly gig at the famed Chicago venue Pops For Champagne. Personnel and style developed over time, ultimately culminating into a permanent band in 2015 comprised of bassist/leader/arranger/composer Joe Policastro, guitarist Dave Miller, and drummer Mikel Avery. Outside Chicago, the trio has been actively touring the US and Canada performing at renowned clubs (The Iridium, The Rex, BluJazz, Cafe Coda, Green Lady Lounge, Noce, Nighttown, etc.) and festivals and concert series (Toronto Jazz Festival, CEFCU Center Stage, The Jazz Club, Chicago Jazz Festival, JazzBuffalo, Sh*tty Barn Sessions, etc.).
The earliest track on Sounds Unheard, “Bali Ha’i,” comes from the band’s original lineup that recorded its debut, West Side Story Suite (2013). A few tracks feature other special guests, but the the bulk of the material features the core trio. Outtakes from the band’s previous releases, POPS! (2016), Screen Sounds (2017), and Nothing Here Belongs (2019), are presented alongside new recordings.
Whether it’s a movie theme like “Goldfinger,” an original tune like “Whose Muse,” or their take on A-ha’s “Take On Me,” the trio’s voice, intricacy, inventiveness, and orchestration of all musical elements can readily be heard on these compelling and coherent unheard sounds.