Session 195: Joe Policastro Trio // Wilder Deitz Singers

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Policastro lowres Witzack Poster Design: Bernadette Witzack

August 01, 2018

On Tour in support of their new release "Screen Sounds", the third release by the band The Joe Policastro Trio is a Chicago-based jazz trio led by bassist Joe Policastro featuring guitarist Dave Miller and drummer Mikel Avery. While firmly rooted in jazz, the bands open -minded, inclusive nature also brings rock, pop, old-school funk, soul, Brazilian, and free improvisation to the surface while still keeping the aesthetic of an acoustic trio intact.

Known for its eclectic taste and approach, the Joe Policastro Trio makes the case that such musical hybridity is worth celebrating. a melody-minded bassist who prioritizes group cohesion over individual displays of virtuosity. (Brian Zimmerman, Downbeat)

The Joe Policastro Trio is a band that can turn pop tart into Jazz art (Travis Rogers, Jazz Owl) and one that should have wide appeal among both jazz fans and listeners of other genres. (Hrayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz Magazine)

"Screen Sounds" features the singular approach of the Chicago-based jazz trio on a unique assemblage of music from movies and TV. The album features music from films such as Yojimbo, The Godfather, Blade Runner, Midnight Cowboy, and TV shows such as Taxi, The Young and the Restless, and Twin Peaks. Both a musical tapestry and personal soundtrack, the trio has re-purposed these selections blending each member's unique voice into a unified sound while shedding new light on these musical touchstones.

The groups terrific new album, Screen Sounds, applies a diversity of approaches to all kinds of source material, consistently retaining the essence of the original works while boldly imprinting the trios personality. (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader)

There are always new wrinkles to be found in the familiar. Thats a political stance that seems to serve the Joe Policastro Trio well...putting alternately gritty and focused touches on songs we've come to love....Policastro and company have found their niche tapping into different breeds of treasured songs. (Dan Billawsky, All About Jazz)

Long-standing residencies in Chicago served as an incubator for its members to write, arrange, and develop a collective voice in the way a band only can over time. Other releases include 2013's "West Side Story Suite", and 2016's "POPS!", also on JeruJazz Records.

Beyond Chicago, the band has been extensively playing together on the road having completed several tours even performing for President Barack Obama. As sidemen, Joe Policastro (Phil Woods, Pat and Debby Boone, Jeff Hamilton, Diane Schuur), Dave Miller (Clarice Assad, Patricia Barber, Algernon), and Mikel Avery (Joshua Abrams, Theaster Gates, Rob Mazurek) have shared the stage with a wide array of musicians but dedicate collectively to this trio.


Wilder Deitz grew up accompanying his father, roots-rock musician Ritt Deitz, and was playing shows all the way from northern Minnesota to the Ohio River Valley before he turned 14. Soon graduating to a bandleader role himself, Wilder continued to surround himself with family musicians, joining with his brother Mitch to form the Wilder Deitz Group. Another pair of brothers, Joe and Sam Galligan, rounded out the rhythm section. As a University of Wisconsin student Wilder joined Professor Richard Davis' legendary Black Music Ensemble, where he met saxophonist Mandell Mathis and singers Deja Mason and Bobbie Briggs. Together, this group performs electrifying R&B and hip-hop music as the Wilder Deitz Singers.