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

July 6, 2021, by Rick Perdian

An archetype is an easily recognizable, readily stereotyped, sort of person. In their new release, Grammy Award-winning Third Coast Percussion joins with celebrated Brazilian guitarist Sérgio Assad and his daughter - vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Clarice Assad - to portray in music twelve of these universal characters that defy time and place. Whether they be a magician, hero, lover or caregiver, the six composer/performers have created fascinating musical vignettes that capture the essence of the individuals that they depict. Third Coast Percussion was founded by Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin and David Skidmore to explore and expand the limitless sonic possibilities of the percussion repertoire. Through their concerts and residency projects with engineers, architects and astronomers, the ensemble has gathered an international following. It was the first percussion ensemble to win a chamber music Grammy Award for their 2016 Cedille label debut, Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich and with Archetypes they might…

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Album review: Archetypes

June 30, 2021, by Andrew Timar

For 15 years, Grammy Award-winning Third Coast Percussion has been praised for the “rare power” (The Washington Post) of its records filled with “an inspirational sense of fun and curiosity” (Minnesota Star-Tribune). The Chicago-based quartet currently serves as ensemble-in-residence at Denison University.  On Archetypes Third Coast has invited celebrated Brazilian guitarist Sérgio Assad and his vocalist/composer/pianist daughter Clarice Assad to collaborate on an album with an intriguing conceit: to conjure up a dozen contrasting universal human archetypes in music. In 12 movements, each from three to just over five minutes, archetypal figures such as magician, jester, rebel, lover, hero and explorer take their turn at the thematic centre.  Instrumentally and stylistically the music comfortably inhabits a double frame: contemporary percussion chamber music is infused with harmonically adventurous Latin jazz, acoustic guitar and occasional vocalise. The results of this genuine collaboration can be extraordinary. Archetypes IV:  The Lover for instance, in its restless and surprising…

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Album review: Archetypes

, by Jonathan Blumhofer

Third Coast Percussion and the father-daughter team of Sérgio and Clarice Assad join forces for Archetypes, a new recording from the Chicago-based Cedille label that explores — in concise, innovative fashion — specific personality types. The album’s concept is straightforward: there are a dozen tracks, four written by each of the Assads and the remaining four composed by members of Third Coast (David Skidmore, Peter Martin, Robert Dillon, and Sean Connors). Each movement evokes, in one or more ways, a character: rebel, orphan, lover, jester, etc. The shortest installment (“Jester”) runs just under three minutes; the longest (“Sage”) clocks in at just over five. Stylistically, the disc runs the gamut from world and folk-inflected gestures to jazz, minimalism, and whatever else in between. It’s nothing that pushes the ear too hard one way or another. That said, the six composers at work here manage to fulfill the album’s conceit creatively —…

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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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