Joe LoCascio

Close to So Far

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AllMusic Review by

This is New Yorker-transplanted-to-Texas Joe LoCascio's tenth album and his second for the Heart Music label. He is joined by his regular playing companions of bass player John Adams and drummer Tim Solook. Like many of his contemporaries, LoCascio goes with a program comprised entirely of his own compositions. The pianist's writings, for the most part, are direct and unswerving. You don't find many that take side trips away from the basic theme of the tune. This tends to give most of what LoCascio plays a meditative, stream-of-consciousness feel about it such as on "Big Motel." Even the more up-tempo (e.g., "A Goodbye Moment") are straightforward, with no pyrotechnics added. Some reviewers have pigeonholed this piano player as a crossover jazz artist, where he mixes in varying measures of jazz and pop in his music. There is none of that here. This is mainstream jazz, bop, and contemporary jazz blended together to satisfy the appetites of a serious jazz acolyte. He applies an ability to take something from different modes and blend them together to make something meaningful come out the other end. For example, there's the unusual Serge Prokofiev-like opening on "Idiot's Delight," where jagged rhythms play tag with a theme that has a bit of ragtime in it. "In the Quiet of Autumn" becomes a musical sonnet in the deft and able hands of LoCascio. Not forgetting his playing mates, LoCascio allows plenty of room for them to expand mere time-keeping duties. Adams' bass opens with a concentrated, lengthy solo on a poetically titled "And Her Look Touching the Air." All in all, this is a very satisfying 57 minutes of music by an artist who merits being included among the best of his contemporary piano-playing peers. Recommended.

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