Wrapping up an international tour, pianist Dan Costa performed a solo concert at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, California, at the end of February, just before the COVID pandemic forced the venue to cancel its scheduled shows. Fortunately, Costa’s performance was recorded, the results of which are presented on Live in California, the London-born pianist’s first live album.
The son of Portuguese and Italian parents, Costa, 31, once again shows his deep affection for and mastery of Brazilian music idioms, albeit in a way that eschews bossa-nova clichés for a more profound expression. In addition to his original material, which borrows from various regional traditions, he also salutes Brazilian composers Jobim, Menescal and Lins with soulful renditions of their songs, all of which is undergirded by technique honed at the Académie de Musique Rainier III and Berklee College of Music. The sprightly “Maracatu” sparkles with warmth and excitement, an evocation of an ancient Carnival tradition that originated with slaves on the sugar plantations of the Pernambuco state, who were determined to hold onto their African heritage through music and dance.
Below is a video of Costa in similarly fine form, performing music from his album Suite Três Rios at Blue Note Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in May 2019.