CD Review – Suite Três Rios

Dan Costa was born in London and studied classical piano for six years at the Académie de Musique Rainier III in Monaco. He took further training at the Académie Internationale d’Été de Nice in France as well as at the Aurora Music Star Festival in Sweden. He was awarded a diploma with merit in modern music performance at Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in the UK.

With parents who are Portuguese and Italian, his cultural influences are diverse and his music is a fusion of many styles. He studied also at the Escola Superior de Música, Artes e Espectáculo in Portugal, where he graduated with an award for outstanding achievement, bestowed upon him by Rotary Club Porto-Foz in 2015 and he attained a merit grant to study Brazilian music at UNICAMP – Universidade Estadual de Campinas (São Paulo, Brazil). Dan also attended workshops coached by musicians such as Kevin Hays, Scott Colley, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jorge Rossy, Chick Corea and César Camargo Mariano. He has co-directed musicals, performed with orchestras and big bands, and starred as both a pianist and composer in projects that have taken him too many countries. His CD ‘ Suite Três Rios’ is released on  19th July.  The album was recorded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in January 2016. ‘Suite Três Rios’ (‘Three Rivers Suite’) captures the essence of Brazilian rhythms, combined with jazz and classical music and includes the talents of renowned performers such as cellist Jaques Morelenbaum, sax player Teco Cardoso and singer Leila Pinheiro.

The CD reflects his diverse cultural roots, particularly Brazilian jazz, which is Latin rooted to the core, but it also has a more than a smart infusion of jazz and classical music. It opens with ‘Alba’, a beautiful, Latin feel piano-led number which transcends and morphs as it develops. There is great keyboard work along with a lovely alto sax overlaid solo and a solid rhythm section which carries the instrumentals.  Key in terms of interest is the middle section where there is a wonderfully counterpointed rhythm discussion between the drums and keys before the sax drops in with the theme again over the top.  ‘Chorinho’ starts with guitar, open, fretful and acoustic which opens the way for the piano which enters in a grand style, marching forth and keeping up a constant theme which is repeated as various instruments drop in and out. There is an openness to the working here and the arrangement allows every instrument to be clearly heard. ‘Samba’ is catchy from the start with the formulaic Samba rhythms given an individual twist by the sax and to and fro with the rhythm section. What can you do with a Samba? Well, here’s the answer. Enjoyable from note number one, this is a great, dynamic arrangement and though it loses the rhythm a bit around the 1.50 minute mark, it is fun and just what a Samba should be. The drums and trumpet towards the end are sublime. ‘Bossa Nova’ is slow, rhythmic and aided by some sultry vocals from the voice of Leila Pinheiro and is followed by ‘Baiao’ which is slightly manic to start, with some pretty nippy keyboard workings from the piano and guitar. ‘Maracuta’ begins with some intriguing deep and delicious double bass before the piano and rhythm section lift the tune and change it into something light, sweet and not quite fluffy but definitely on the fun and frivolous side – which is great. The recurring theme is worked into various musical shapes and delivered from the piano, echoed by the others and then the double bass again – and there is something quite special about the bass on this number – especially with those oh-so-light but oh-so-quick percussive notes supporting. ‘Modinha’ is atmospheric and moody from the start and features the baritone sax of Teco Cardoso, both in a solo and supportive role. ‘Aria’ finishes the CD and is a piece full of different rhythms, speeds and again includes some gorgeous sax playing as well as decent interludes form all the band.

This album is easy to listen to but not easy listening – which makes the difference. There is a lot going on here and the subtleties and waves underneath both the solos and themes make it interesting for the listener. It is busy in terms of the number of different rhythms textures and styles which the band deliver with technical brilliance yet there is a slight sense of trying to get too much in in terms of diversity and some sections are better than others but it is worthy of a listen – in fact more than just one listen.

Band/Artist: Dan Costa
Suite Três Rios
Release date: 19th July by Symphonic Distribution
(Label: Dan Costa Productions). Buy:  Amazon /iTunes

1- Alba (ft. Jaques Morelenbaum)
2- Chorinho
3- Samba
4- Bossa Nova (ft. Leila Pinheiro)
5- Baião (ft. Marcos Suzano)
6- Maracatu
7- Modinha (ft. Teco Cardoso)
8- Aria
Piano, Compositions, Arrangements, Production – Dan Costa
Guitar, Executive Co-production – Ricardo Silveira
Alto & Tenor Sax – Marcelo Martins
Trombone – Vittor Santos
Double Bass – Alberto Continentino
Drums, Pandeiro – Rafael Barata
Featured artists: Jaques Morelenbaum (cello), Leila Pinheiro (voice),
Teco Cardoso (baritone sax), Marcos Suzano (percussion)

Text: Sammy Stein

YT Video and Photos: Dan Costa & Dan Costa Facebook

Last modified: July 15, 2018