Joe LoCascio | Book of Days Review
by Darnell Jackson
Seasoned jazz pianist and composer Joe LoCascio has a brilliant and inventive exploration of performing and composing in his album Book of Days. The recording is a testament to LoCascio’s expansive career and a glowing addition to an impressive discography that spans over three decades. LoCascio meticulously crafted the album’s eleven compositions with this specific ensemble in mind to create vehicles of expression for each player’s talents. This ensemble features his long-standing collaborator, saxophonist Woody Witt, alongside bassist Richard Mikel and drummer Daniel Dufour.
The album begins with the captivating track “Fantomas.” The piece opens with a mesmerizing ostinato piano figure that helps build an atmosphere of energy and exploration. The ensemble performs with nuanced sensitivity, embracing the energy of the moment as a crucial part of their musical conversation. Witt’s saxophone solo is outstanding. LoCascio is a jazz composer who knows how to bring out the best in his ensemble to deliver a superb listening experience.
“Notes in a Foreign Hand,” another standout track, features Witt on tenor saxophone; his ideas during his solo are fluid, making the best of the relaxed tempo to explore the rhythmic and sonic possibilities of LoCascio’s beautifully constructed composition. The ensemble listens intently to one another to create shapes within Witt’s solo that further the musical experience of the song. LoCascio picks up where Witt left off and delivers a tapestry of melodies and harmonic colors during his solo. Basssit Mikel takes a relaxing solo before the lyrical theme returns.
In Book of Days, LoCascio expertly crafts a sonic journey custom-made for this ensemble to express themselves with their unique talents and form a profoundly musical whole. The compositions, while deeply rooted in jazz traditions, push the boundaries and invite listeners to embark on a journey of discovery. Whether you are a new listener to jazz or an expert jazz cat, Book of Days offers a refreshing and illuminating experience that celebrates the enduring power of relationships through the beauty of jazz.
Book of Days
Release Date: November 29, 2021