Chicago bassist JOE POLICASTRO grew up in the fertile jazz, classical, and popular music scene of Cincinnati, OH. He studied Classical Double Bass Performance on full scholarship at Miami University. Joe earned his Bachelor of Music in Jazz/Studio Music from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and his Master of Music in Jazz Studies from DePaul University in Chicago. After performing and recording in Germany, he relocated to Chicago where he quickly established himself an in-demand bassist and arranger/composer. He has performed and recorded with a wide array of artists such as Diane Schuur, Jeff Hamilton, Howard Levy, Phil Woods, Pat and Debby Boone, Tim Ries, IraSullivan, Howard Alden, Rick Margitza, Jim Snidero, David "Fathead" Newman, and Billy Hart.
He leads the Joe Policastro Trio, and the group has released three albums featuring his writing, arranging, and performing: West Side Story Suite For Jazz Trio (2013), POPS! (2016), and Screen Sounds (2017). He also leads and co-leads the Gerry Mulligan tribute ensembles, Jeru, the Mulligan Mosaics Big Band, and the Mulligan Mulligan Mosaics Nonet for which he has extensively written and arranged. As composer/arranger, his work can be heard on recordings by numerous artists including Ira Sullivan and the Rob Parton Big Band.
As an educator, he has been a Ravinia Jazz Mentor, a Lecturer of Jazz Studies at DePaul University, and he is currently on faculty at Morton College, the Chicago Academy for the Arts, and the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory. He is happy to make Chicago his home along with his wife, Marie, and his children, Ava and Anthony, and his dog, Fritz.
"Policastro…is a melody-minded bassist who prioritizes group cohesion over individual
displays of virtuosity. His solo on The Pixies' "Wave Of Mutilation" best exemplifies his
improvisational style, which bears the mark of solid, unadorned craftsmanship."
- Brian Zimmerman, DOWNBEAT
Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune has praised Policastro for the "ample rhythmic
propulsion" of his bass playing and noted his "exquisitely voiced" and "shimmering"
"[Policastro] sings on his instrument."
- Michael Steinman, Jazz Lives