From concert and album reviews to feature articles, Third Coast Percussion is in the news.

We are fortunate to have garnered critical acclaim and recognition for so many of our performances and projects. See for yourself what the buzz is all about by reading what the press has to say! Browse reviews, articles, and much more below.

Album review: Archetypes

May 21, 2021, by Laurence Vittes

This very cool collection of tours de force takes a random selection of archetypal themes composed and collaboratively performed by Clarice and Sérgio Assad and Third Coast Percussion – Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin and David Skidmore – and owes as much to modern jazz as to classical traditions. In each of the 12 self-contained pieces the players are always exploring where their shifting combinations of vastly different timbres and lyrical proclivities will take them, often just letting the tides carry them away. The individual playing is so intensely magnetic at times that it cries out for video. The album opens with Rebel, in which a minute-long series of drum riffs designed to demo dynamic speed and tight bass is followed by stretches where the players seem hypnotised themselves. There are classical sightings at times, such as a chaconne of sorts in Ruler and some powerful romantic gestures in Magician, which is pretty…

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Album review: Archetypes

May 19, 2021, by James Manheim

It's rare, especially in the music broadly characterized as classical, to find music that's genuinely collaborative at its core. For the most part, collaborations ornament the work of one creative figure with contributions from another, but this release from the father-and-daughter Latin jazz guitarists Sérgio and Clarice Assad and the avant-garde Third Coast Percussion Ensemble manages the trick. It helps that the musicians' backgrounds overlap somewhat; Clarice has a composition master's degree, and Third Coast, which played clubs earlier in its career, certainly is literate in jazz rhythms and forms, but this does not prepare the listener for how confidently this music flows. The 12 archetypes of the title are, in the words of the players, "ancient, universal patterns of human behavior," with each piece aptly evoking "The Magician," "The Jester," "The Hero," and so on. The various elements of style here are woven together in distinctive ways that suggest the idea being portrayed. Some of the pieces are composed by Sérgio or Clarice,…

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Album review: Archetypes

May 13, 2021, by Clive Paget

Contemporary music can be a prickly affair, but for those driven by the pleasure principle it’s nice to know there are some seriously thoughtful composers out there offering new music to listeners looking for a good time. That’s certainly the case with Archetypes, a crowd-pleasing collaboration between Sérgio and Clarice Assad and Chicago-based quartet Third Coast Percussion (TCP). Sérgio Assad won his first Latin Grammy back in 2002 and has been twice nominated for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. His daughter, Brazilian-American composer and performer Clarice, spans the worlds of classical, world music, pop, and jazz. TCP members (Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore), both play and compose; they are as comfortable in the world of Philip Glass as they are taking on Missy Mazzoli, Danny Elfman, or Georg Friedrich Haas. The album is all about finding common ground, seeking inspiration in objects or figures that crop up…

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Third Coast Percussion performs with Sérgio and Clarice Assad at Hancher virtual concert

May 10, 2021, by Abby McCusker

Psychologist Carl Jung developed 12 different brand archetypes that represent common forms or images in myths and legends from across the world. Third Coast Percussion, with guitarist Sérgio Assad, and his daughter, vocalist, pianist, and composer, Clarice Assad, created a performance inspired by these characters and their traits.  On Friday night, Hancher Auditorium streamed a virtual performance of Third Coast Percussion with Sérgio Assad and Clarice Assad. The concert, titled Archetypes, featured 12 original pieces written by a member of Third Coast Percussion, Sérgio Assad, or Clarice Assad. Each member of Third Coast Percussion composed one of the pieces for the performance. Sérgio and Clarice Assad each wrote four pieces. The group then came together to collaboratively workshop the pieces and share what they knew about their individual instruments. Grammy-award-winning Third Coast Percussion was founded in 2005. All four members, David Skidmore, Robert Dillion, Peter Martin, and Sean Conners are accomplished teachers. The…

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Album review: Archetypes

May 3, 2021, by Emery Kerekes

When father-daughter pair Clarice and Sérgio Assad set out on their long-awaited inaugural collaborative record, they hoped to choose subject material that would speak to performers and audiences alike — “something that connects us all” (as the project’s official subtitle says). Clarice, a multi-instrumentalist and composer who exists on the cusp of contemporary classical and Latin jazz, found herself digging into the framework that describes the human experience across cultures: archetypes. She brought the idea to Sérgio, a classical guitarist whose fame stems from a longstanding duo with cousin and fellow guitarist Odair Assad; he was intrigued. With a universal sentiment in mind — archetypes, after all, define human experience the world over — father and daughter began work on a monumental 12-movement cycle, each movement modeled after one of the archetypes proposed by Freudian psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Clarice had found herself captivated by a performance from Chicago-based quartet Third…

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Album review: Archetypes

April 23, 2021, by Josh Bokor

The new collaborative project from Third Coast Percussion, Brazilian guitarist Sérgio Assad, and multi-instrumentalist Clarice Assad focuses on the twelve character archetypes. The Latin jazz and rhythm influences add so much flavor to these compositions, bringing these ancient stories new life. The Chicago-based quartet known as Third Coast Percussion are one of the most adventurous and interesting acts in chamber music today. Primarily focusing on percussive elements, the group constantly push themselves to create new works and reworks of existing compositions in a collaborative way. They use many instruments in their music, but most commonly use marimbas, vibraphones, and drums. Over the years they've put out many unique albums, each one being completely different from the next. Whether it's the Grammy-award winning album of Steve Reich reinterpretations titled Reich, Paddle to the Sea, or their collaborative album with Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange) they did in 2019 with Fields, the…

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Grammy-winning percussionists release an exceptional, ‘theatrical’ album

April 9, 2021, by David Rohde

Can an hour-long album of something technically labeled “classical music” actually be the closest thing to musical theater’s tradition of an original cast recording? It can in the case of last month’s release of one of the most exceptional new albums of any genre during the pandemic (move over, Taylor Swift!). It’s titled Archetypes and it’s by a Chicago-based, Grammy Award–winning quartet called Third Coast Percussion. Archetypes is produced in collaboration with one of world music’s most notable duos, the Brazilian-American father-daughter team of Sergio Assad on the guitar and Clarice Assad on piano, bass guitar, and anything else she decides to play (or sing). Each of 12 tracks takes a persistent “archetype” from psychology, mythology, and ancient history — think Ruler, Jester, Hero, Innocent, Lover and so on — and draws a musical portrait of that archetype in a unique soundscape. But Archetypes began as a live concert, almost a “show,” that mixes elements of…

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Archetypes: Third Coast Percussion Meets the Assads

April 7, 2021, by David Hurwitz

Archetypes consists of twelve character sketches: Rebel, Innocent, Orphan, Lover, Magician, Ruler, Joker, Caregiver, Sage, Creator, Hero and Explorer. Four movements were composed by guitarist Sérgio Assad, four by multi-instrumental/vocalist Clarice Assad, and one by each of the four members of Third Coast Percussion. The nature of the collaboration was, audibly, harmonious. Each piece lasts around 4-5 minutes, and explores an evocative range of sonorities. Conceptually, the music isn’t so far from such works as “The Four Temperaments” by Nielsen or Hindemith, although the range of personality types encapsulated in these twelve vignettes is, as you can see, much broader. Musically, the idiom is an eclectic mixture of elements borrowed from “world” and ethnic musics, new age, cool jazz, minimalism–just about anything you might think of; but again, the sonorities are remarkable for their smoothness and polish. Some of them fit the characterizations more obviously than others. The Jew’s harp…

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Album review: Archetypes

, by Hannah Edgar

This album is just as delicious as it sounds. Father–daughter musical motors Sérgio and Clarice Assad team up with the Third Coast Percussion foursome for this brand-new suite, whose twelve varied movements represent character types found in literature around the world (e.g. The Orphan, The Innocent, The Sage). The Third Coast lads wrote one movement each, with all the rest penned by the Assads.  For a collaboratively composed work, Archetypes, lush with color and curiosity, is as seamless as could be on a start-to-finish hearing. It doesn’t surprise me at all that some of the more audacious tracks were Clarice’s doing: “Rebel” hurtles headlong into its many stylistic volte-faces, and “Jester” piles on irreverent percussion gimmicks—slide whistles, mouth harps, and flexatones, oh my!—to create something driving and fresh. (The insistent kazoo solo at its climax called to mind Shakespeare’s Fools, those perennially underestimated truth-tellers.)  Yes, Archetypes is eclectic—and eccentric—but it’s not without its…

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ABC7 Chicago Interviews Third Coast Percussion

March 13, 2021, by Hosea Sanders

ABC7 journalist Hosea Sanders interviewed TCP members David Skidmore and Robert Dillon in advance of the GRAMMY® Awards. Read the highlights below, and click here to watch the interview. CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Grammy Awards are presented this weekend and we could see a local winner! Chicago's own Third Coast Percussion, joined by composer Blood Orange, are among nominees. Some of the group talks about how they make daring and wondrous music like few artists can! This mind-bending group has been together for 16 years, has three Grammy nominations and even won in 2017. "The thrill does not ever end," said Robert Dillion with Third Coast Percussion. "Obviously this year we wish we could be in LA with everyone else." The ongoing pandemic means they will have to celebrate here in Chicago this year. "We're getting together in our rehearsal studio, safely distanced from one another," said David Skidmore, also…

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