Marco Franco’s debut as a solo musician took place with Mudra, in 2017, in the most unexpected way imaginable: after enjoying a successful career as a drummer, earning a reputation as an important activist in defence of Portuguese jazz and improvisation, the Lisbon musician brought the piano to the centre of his life. And ours too. Composed in the secrecy of his own personal bubble, Mudra appeared without any warning and immediately placed his name on a platform of widespread admiration. Giving the impression of a form of idiosyncratic composition that was highly emotive and, at the same time, deliciously geometrical and complex, Mudra inevitably left us feeling curious and filled with the desire to discover Marco Franco’s particular musical legacy and to understand how the language of his piano playing would develop. What we hear in Arcos is not, however, the fruit of his creation after all these years of waiting: what already existed was put to one side and temporarily filed away, so that what we now hear reflects and observes the present moment that the world is passing through, questioning what is happening around us and subjugating itself to the conditions that we are currently experiencing. There is a before and after the pandemic, and what emerges from the writing and the piano of Arcos is influenced by the need to make music that is honest and transparent. Marco Franco gives us new music for new times, with art once again offering us a possible salvation.