Short Bio

Percussionist, drummer and composer Carlo Costa was born and grew up in Rome, Italy. Since 2005 he has been based in New York City. In the past several years he has been making music which is largely improvised and/or experimental in nature. Through the use of a variety of unusual techniques and added objects Carlo has meticulously developed a distinctive and wide-ranging sonic palette. His long standing projects are Natura Morta (with Frantz Loriot and Sean Ali), Earth Tongues (with Dan Peck and Joe Moffett) and Moritz/Ali/Costa (with Jonathan Moritz and Sean Ali). Newer projects include a duo with contrabass clarinetist John McCowen, the quartet Diaphane (with Carl Ludwig Hübsch, Raphael Loher and Frantz Loriot) and Hypersurface a trio with guitarist Drew Wesely and cellist Lester St. Louis. Carlo additionally performs solo concerts and has released two solo albums to date. Over the years Carlo has had the opportunity to perform throughout Europe, Canada, the US and Japan.

Long Bio

Carlo Costa was born in Rome, Italy in 1983. He grew up listening to his father’s jazz record collection and eventually discovered American and British rock and pop through his sister and friends. When he was ten he started taking drum set lessons sort of by chance and after a few years of playing rock and roll he migrated slowly towards jazz, eventually studying for several years at the St Louis College of Music in Rome. In 2001 he moved to Boston to study music at Berklee College of Music and 2005 he moved to New York City to study at City College. He has been living in New York City ever since.

Initially drawn to free jazz and the music of the New York City experimental downtown scene, Carlo soon started exploring forms of improvised music that are increasingly subtle, spacious, quiet and slow-moving. In order to widen his instrument’s textural and timbral qualities over the years Carlo developed a variety of unusual techniques and added objects and small instruments to his set up.

In writing music for his own ensembles and ad-hoc projects Carlo employs a compositional language designed for improvisers which makes use of a mixture of traditional notation, graphic scores, symbols, written directions and cue methods to merge and juxtapose composed elements with improvisation.

His current projects include: a solo percussion project; Natura Morta, an improvising trio of percussion and strings (with violist Frantz Loriot and bassist Sean Ali) Earth Tongues, trio of brass and percussion (with trumpeter Joe Moffett and tubaist Dan Peck); Moritz/Ali/Costa (with saxophonist Jonathan Moritz and bassist Sean Ali); a European quartet named Diaphane with pianist Raphael Loher, tubist Carl Ludwig Hübsch and violist Frantz Loriot; a duo with contrabass clarinetist John McCowen; a duo with clarinetist Philippe Lauzier; and a thirteen piece ensemble named Acustica.

Former projects include a duo with electric guitarist Ryan Ferreira, the trio Minerva (w/ pianist JP Shlegelmilch and double bassist Pascal Niggenkemper), the Carlo Costa Quartet (w/ trombonist Steve Swell, bassist Sean Ali and saxophonist Jonathan Moritz), a duo with Norwegian guitarist Håvard Volden,the trio Ancient Enemies (with Joanna Mattrey and Nathaniel Morgan) and a duo with percussionist Flin van Hemmen.

As a sideman Carlo currently works or has worked with the following projects: a trio called Hypersurface with guitarist Drew Wesely and cellist Lester St. Louis; the experimental folk-jazz group Laila and Smitty which is led by Kenny Warren; a trio led by dancer Azumi Oe (with Sean Ali); Mujô Quartet led by Jean-Brice Godet (with Michaël Attias and Pascal Niggenkemper on bass); a trio led by electric bassist Raphael Malfliet (with Todd Neufeld); and a large ensemble led by Raphael Malfliet; a trio led by double bassist Brandon Lopez (featuring Alejandro Florez on acoustic guitar); the Shayna Dulberger Quartet; the Sandra Weiss Quintet; and many others.

In the past few years Carlo has shared the stage and/or recorded with musicians such as Darius Jones, Audrey Chen, Nate Wooley, Susanna Santos Silva, Connie Crothers, Tony Malaby, Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø, Toma Gouband, Denman Maroney, Elisabeth Coudoux, Ben Gerstein, Daniel Carter, etc. He has performed throughout Europe, the US, and Japan with a variety of projects.

In November 2014, Carlo founded the label Neither/Nor Records which is dedicated to experimental and improvised music.

Press Quotes

“Italian-born percussionist Carlo Costa has lived in New York since 2005, where he's enriched a variety of jazz-oriented projects with his turbulent, fascinating sense of propulsion. He's also developed another distinctive aesthetic, which for few years now he's showcased via his own Neither/Nor label, which releases Costa's music and that of his close collaborators: it's a texture-first approach, rooted in a strong improvisational ethos.” (Chicago Reader)

“Costa is something of a percussion visionary with an incredibly melodic ear, who is always is exploring new rhythms, small sounds, and who has as much of a facility for using space as any percussionist in recent memory.” (Jazz Right Now)

“Costa is a musician with a very distinct musical vision, one that creates organic textures that grow almost naturally, quietly and intensely.” (FreeJazz Blog)

“Carlo Costa is an anomaly as a drummer. He specializes in magical, mysterious, raptly quiet improvisations.” (New York Music Daily)