Joe LoCascio : Book of Days Review
Book of Days: A Sonic Odyssey through Joe LoCascio’s Jazz Landscape
The compositional stylings of Joe LoCascio come to life in a sonic tapestry that was meticulously composed for this album with this ensemble. However, LoCascio admits to pushing the limits of his own artistry in his eighteenth recording, Book of Days. Therefore, this offering can only be described as a beautiful balance of composition and improvisation.
LoCascio’s journey has been punctuated by his involvement with some of the best in jazz, names as diverse as Chet Baker and Pharoah Sanders, which has undoubtedly honed his skills to a razor’s edge. The saga of LoCascio’s musical evolution resumes in Book of Days, eight years after his previous recording. Teaming up with saxophonist Woody Witt, the duo makes a compelling case that the hiatus was indeed a fertile period, well worth the wait.
Book of Days sees LoCascio and Witt traverse the album’s compositions with the agility of well-trained athletes. Backed by the rhythmic precision of bassist Richard Mikel and drummer Daniel Dufour, the music unfolds elegantly, a cascade of notes that take their origins from the compositions, intermittently adorned by harmonic and rhythmic innovations that pepper the album with unexpected and exhilarating surprises. Tracks such as “Nomads,” “Brother,” and the album’s high point, “Point Taken,” are sterling examples of this delicate balance.
LoCascio, a prodigious composer and pianist, has carved a distinguished path through both the classical and jazz worlds. His expansive portfolio includes eighteen well-received jazz albums alongside a legacy of collaborations with various jazz maestros. Book of Days, recorded at the renowned Wire Road Studios in Houston, introduces eleven original compositions, each crafted carefully to afford the ensemble a broad canvas for expressive exploration.
LoCascio’s piano work throughout the album is inspired, his phrases woven seamlessly into the fabric of the harmony, building to a controlled intensity with each solo. LoCascio is also gifted at encouraging the intricate dance between musicians with his lush sonic compositions and his contribution while accompanying others. Together he works to craft a cohesive and emotionally potent musical statement.
Book of Days is an album with an enjoyable conversation among the ensemble members, captured and etched into each beautifully composed piece. It invites the listener to partake in a journey of sound that’s equally satisfying for both casual listening and in-depth analysis. Jazz enthusiasts will instantly hear the album’s warm glow, a testament to the radiant synergy of this unyielding ensemble, and newcomers will be integrated by the album’s diverse sound and easily accessible melodies and improvisation.
Book of Days
November 29, 2021