Dan Costa, Live in California Review
by Roland Freerier
Pianist Dan Costa has released his third album Live in California recorded at Kuumbwa Jazz, in Santa Cruz, CA. Costa is based in Europe, this performance was the last of his Skyness tour. Born in London to an Italian and Portuguese family. Costa has a deep connection with Latin jazz. Initially, he studied classical piano for six years at the Académie de Musique Rainier III in the south of France. In 2010, he was awarded a diploma with merit at Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in the UK. It would be his strong interest in his Latin roots coupled with his passion for jazz that would lead him to study at the Escola Superior de Música e Artes do Espectáculo in Portugal, graduating with an award for outstanding achievement, bestowed upon him by Rotary Club Porto-Foz in 2015. He additionally was awarded a merit grant to study Brazilian music at UNICAMP – Universidade Estadual de Campinas (São Paulo, Brazil). Along with a scholarship for outstanding achievement at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
“Baiao,” a Costa original has a reminiscence of “Berimbau,” in its opening that lilts a comforting appeal from the start. Costa has an effortlessness to his playing with a strong left hand that keeps the rhythmic pulse strongly underpinning the propulsion of the tune. Each hand is independently working to create a layered enticement to the notes while maintaining the continuity of the melody.
“Aria” is an engaging mid-tempo tune that revels in its colorful textualization while once again Costa glides with elegance and panache across the keys thoughtfully creating a varied sonicscape for the listener to relish. The album concludes with “Love Dance,” a tender and unfolding tune that is hauntingly beautiful as it hints to its cascading suppleness. Like a dance each note unveils a deeper relevance connecting to each moment ahead.
Costa has an innate ability to create so much sound with the piano, you quickly forget you are listening to solo piano as he traverses each tune with a caressing elegance that only comes from hours of playing. His fluidity and ability to communicate in each tune is breathtaking. Live in California is once again a meaningful additive to his ever-growing discography.