Home » Jazz Articles » Dan Costa: Beams


Album Review

Dan Costa: Beams


Sign in to view read count
Dan Costa: Beams
UK-born pianist Dan Costa plays and composes in the impressionistic tradition of Bill Evans, acoustic Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea or Marcin Wasilewski. It is a style that lends itself well to the alchemy of turning light into music, music into light. And his subject matter of choice on Beams, like that of an impressionist painter, is indeed light. He describes the album as "a celebration of light in some key physical and metaphysical forms."

Light is like water, according to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and it cascades from Costa's piano keys as if turning on a tap. If there is a Garcia Marquez-like magic realism to his playing, it is accentuated by the album's South American flavour. Several Brazilian musicians feature in the lineup, with Teco Cardoso on alto sax, Paulinho Vicente on drums, along with vocal contributions from Hermeto Pascoal and Anne Boccato, complementing Costa's Portuguese/European sensibilities. Boccato's ethereal vocals especially recall those of Flora Purim on Chick Corea's Return To Forever (ECM, 1972) and Beams will likely appeal to fans of that release or Light As A Feather (Polydor, 1973).

Not only does Beams echo the solo efforts of a former Miles Davis alumnus like Corea, no less than three Davis alumni play on it. Dave Liebman, Mike Stern and Pascoal. Rounding out the personnel are John Patitucci on bass and Dave Douglas on trumpet. But the consistent backbone across the majority of the tracks is the rhythm section of Patitucci and Vicente, aiding Costa. Three tracks even feature this trio on their own. Douglas joins them on the title track, followed by the warmth of Cardoso's saxophone on "Acalantando," Stern's electric guitar on "Sparks of Motion," and Boccato on "Paw Prints" and "Então." Pascoal also appears on "Então," scat singing through a glass of water, while the closing track, "Stardial," strips the performance down to a celestial duet between the piano and Liebman's soprano sax, unaccompanied.

The shifting array of collaborators allows Costa to slot different lenses onto his camera, so to speak, applying the relevant lens aperture to capture whatever lighting differences exist each time. The result is a haunting, poetic album where Costa's melodic lyricism dances like dappled rays.

Some of the best atmospheric jazz you are likely to hear in 2023. Or any year.

Track Listing

Beams; Acalantando; Encaminho; Sparks of Motion; Cypress; Então; Viewscape; Paw Prints; Stardial.


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

Album information

Title: Beams | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Dan Costa

Post a comment about this album

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Cecile McLorin Salvant
Friendship Music for Turkey
Berke Can Özcan, Jonah Parzen-Johnson
Fata Morgana
Ensemble Dedalus + eRikm
Andrew Moorhead


Bobo Stenson Trio
David Lyttle & Phil Robson
Notespeak 12
Lisa Marie Simmons

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.