CD Review: Dan Costa, Beams

Written by | CD Reviews, News, Reviews

Using nature as a guide to artistic expression, multicultural pianist and composer Dan Costa releases his new album “Beams”, paying homage to different forms of light.

Following the trail of previous albums inspired by rivers and skies, he now delves into the colours of childhood, non-human animals, plants, urban and rural environments, and philosophical concepts such as contemplation and liberty. Celebrating light, he states in an interview, is important in societies prone to criticize rather than to praise.

Classically trained, Costa’s pianism exudes light, displaying expressive phrasing indicative of a personal touch and melodic contours which inform his improvisational and compositional abilities. His musical landscape is steeped in the Brazilian jazz tradition, echoing pianists such as André Mehmari, Fabio Torres, Egberto Gismonti and César Camargo Mariano, as well as in the American idiom, including Aaron Parks, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and Marc Copland. Brazilian rhythms underscore the album’s creation, echoing Costa’s previous albums, and range from samba and baião to bossa nova and chorinho.

Costa’s pieces are harmonically complex and make use of frequent modulations which challenge tonality, yet the beauty of the melodies and the interaction amongst players prompt a truly inspiring listen. As Randy Brecker underlines in its liner notes, the album is characterized by heartfelt, emotional playing. Costa, in fact, teams up with well-known double bass player John Patitucci and up-and-coming drummer Paulinho Vicente, who form the core band of the album. The three interact remarkably throughout, especially during piano and bass solos, and when trading fours.

The guests on the album also play an important part in weaving the narrative. Dave Douglas leaves his mark with an engaging trumpet solo on the title track Beams, while Teco Cardoso displays great sensibility on Acalantando. Mike Stern’s strong participation on Sparks of Motion brings a touch of jazz fusion and Hermeto Pascoal’s solo using a glass of water hints at his longstanding creativity. Anne Boccato’s mellow yet versatile voice is a perfect fit for the melodic intricacies of Então and Paw Prints, while Liebman’s celestial duet with Costa brings this compelling album to a close.

Let there be beams.

Track Listing:
1. Beams | 2. Acalantando | 3. Encaminho | 4. Sparks of Motion | 5. Cypress | 6. Então | 7. Viewscape | 8. Paw Prints | 9. Stardial.

Dan Costa: piano | John Patitucci: Double bass | Paulinho Vicente: drums | Dave Douglas: trumpet | Teco Cardoso: saxophone | Anne Boccato: vocals | Hermeto Pascoal: piano | Dave Liebman: soprano saxophone | Mike Stern: band/orchestra.

Release Date: 1 January 2023
Format: CD | Digital
Label: Self Release

New Release Spotify Playlist

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Last modified: September 10, 2023