Gramophone: “Archetypes” review

Published on May 21, 2021 by Laurence Vittes       |      Share this post!

A “very cool collection of tours de force. . . The individual playing is so intensely magnetic at times that it cries out for video.”

“…state-of-the-art audiophile sound.”

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 stunning overall with cartoonish intentions that stretch what these instruments can do when they’re falling in love with each other at a fabulous, frenetic pace. In the concluding Explorer they throw everything in their toolkit into a lumbering sprint to the finish. The only thing that’s missing is an occasional tenor sax solo and in Caregiver, a song suffused with romance, a singer.

Recorded in January 2020 at the Chicago Recording Company just before Covid struck, ‘Archetypes’ is an album in the mold of Lincoln Mayorga’s iconic Sheffield Labs vinyl from the 1970s combining intense musical takes with improvisatorial feel and state-of-the-art audiophile sound.

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