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Houston-based jazz pianist Joe Locascio has performed with many luminaries over the years. As a solo artist, he's released some of the more distinctive albums steeped within the piano trio format. In The City Of Lost Things may signal his finest recorded hour. Simply stated, Locascio plays all the right notes. Consisting of swirling chord clusters, fluid single note runs and tuneful melodies, the pianist and his crack rhythm section skirt that rather opaque division between mainstream and progressive jazz fare.
It's partly about the band's acute employment of dynamics, interweaved among odd-metered unison flurries and more. On "Sonia Braga, Thomas Helton's arco bass patterns paint a somber storyline, where Locascio seemingly raises the pitch with a lower register ostinato, all segueing into a heated plot built upon ascending choruses.
Contrasts abound throughout, as the band effortlessly whirls through up-tempo and precision-oriented bop grooves, opening the door for three-way exchanges. In other sections, Locascio throws a few hooks and diversions into the overall gameplan via an assortment of diminutive phrasings and textural shifts in strategy. Overall, this superfine unit sustains continual interest. And if you've become complacent with the endless and sometimes ho hum stream of jazz piano outings, then this gem will most assuredly warrant your attention.
Track Listing: The Bibliophile; Sonia Braga; In The City Of Lost Things; Port Of Call; The Wall Of Sleep; Julian; Naked Rats; Under A Pink Moon; Our Story; Hopalong.
Personnel: Joe Locascio: piano; Thomas Helton: bass; Richard Cholakian: drums.