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Dan Costa (piano): Roberto Menescal (guitar): Jorge Helder (bass): Teco Cardoso (flute): Custódio Castelo (Portuguese guitar): Romero Lubambo (acoustic guitar): Nelson Faria (electric guitar): Seamus Blake (tenor saxophone)

Recorded Arte Suono studios, Udine, Italy, 2018



Tempos Sentidos


Lisbon Skyline


Sete Enredos




I reviewed pianist Dan Costa’s Hypnote album Suíte Três Rios a couple of years ago. Now comes Skyness, the title being drawn from a poem of the same name by the pianist printed in the card fold-out. It stands, alongside rather highfalutin single sentence quotations from Lucretius and Aloysio de Oliveira, as a kind of artistic statement and I doubt it adds much to the musical testament that Costa leaves.

This nine-track 40-minute disc, housed in a gatefold, offers more evidence of Costa’s highly accomplished pianism and of the fruitful musical associations he has made. The romantic reverie evoked in Prologue, deep rich chords in the bass and a brief moment in which he solos without rhythm, serves notice of his articulacy. Elsewhere, though, the ethos is predominantly Latin, Tempos sentidos being an example of lightly flowing Latin vibe, where Roberto Menescal’s guitar is especially effective. Elements of quirky rhythm inaugurate Compelling but Teco Cardoso’s elegant soft-grained flute playing, full of fancy and wit, adds its own strong mark and reveals another happy component of this album – the very personal sound worlds of Costa’s musical colleagues.

Costa’s own dappled pianism on Lisbon Skyline aptly introduces the Portuguese guitar of the excellent Custódio Castelo where the attack is sharper and this crispness evokes, if not Fado, then certainly elements of Saudade. Intracycle is a piano solo for Costa, flowing and elegant, whilst Sete Enredos features the acoustic guitar of Romero Lubambo and plenty of crisp, colourful decoration animated by the exciting chordal backing at the piano. Perhaps Iremia, Costa’s other solo, meanders somewhat but Nelson Faria’s electric guitar brings life to Lume. We wait until the final track for an appearance by saxist Seamus Blake whose elfin playing, above rolling rhythms, leads onto some more straight-ahead jazz stylings. There’s a keener edge to his sound as the tune develops and he even ends with what sounds like a nod to Ben Webster via terminal breathing at the song’s close.

If this is Euro-Brazilian Bossa-infused jazz, then it works well. I prefer to think of it as musicians bringing their own conspicuous national styles and strengths to bear in an enjoyable, life-affirming and finely recorded album.

Jonathan Woolf


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