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Dan Costa

Suite Três Rios |





Alba (ft. Jaques Morelenbaum)



Bossa Nova (ft. Leila Pinheiro)

Baião (ft. Marcos Suzano)


Modinha (ft. Teco Cardoso)


Dan Costa (piano): Ricardo Silveira (guitar): Marcelo Martins (alto and tenor sax); Vittor Santos (trombone): Alberto Continentino (double bass): Rafael Barata (drums, Pandeiro): Jaques Morelenbaum (cello): Leila Pinheiro (voice): Teco Cardoso (baritone sax): Marcos Suzano (percussion)


Dan Costa heads a fine ensemble with plenty of room for distinctive contributions from soloists throughout the eight tracks of this rather short-measure 36-minute disc: in fact, the duration is LP-sized. The pianist-leader has written the compositions, arrangements and production – his executive co-producer is the excellent guitarist Ricardo Silveira – and this uniformity of approach ensures that there are no jagged edges, stylistically speaking, throughout the course of the album.

Costa reveals a deft technique on the opener, Alba where his delicacy and warm harmonies usher in agile alto playing from Marcelo Martins and a firm Latin spring to the collective step. The two soloist-producers work well together on Chorinho and the pianist’s rolling figures are particularly attractive, whilst the arrangement on Samba ensures variety; crisp drum intro inaugurating first piano and then fluent sax, rich-toned trombone and then more athletic percussion work before a fade out on a funky guitar solo.

This shows clear thinking as to which instrumentation works well and which instrument to feature: there are a number of featured artists including Leila Pinheiro who takes the husky vocal on Bossa Nova where the piano takes it laid-back and trombonist Vittor Santos unveils an adroit solo. For Baião things are more athletically rhythmic, led by the percussion of Marcos Suzano, and one finds Costa’s pianism is similarly energised alongside the evocative guitar styling of Silveira, a splendid player.

This is no by-rote Latin-infused album. There’s fluid variety, of instrumentation, metre and rhythm and, as the bass solo in Maracatu shows, players are encouraged to make their mark concisely but warmly. If the reverie-romantic piano lines in Modinha sets the scene, it’s still left to baritone saxist Teco Cardoso to show how airily and how well he phrases: the mood here is calm, cool and altogether collected, a kind of updated West Coast Latin vibe. And as the final track, Aria, demonstrates, no one tries too hard. There’s no musical duck-walking, and no transcendent display of virtuosity for its own sake. This is, instead, stylistically consonant, generously melodic and colourful ensemble playing. Just the thing for cold nights – and warm ones too.

Jonathan Woolf


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