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.

Which Sinfonia: “Archetypes” review

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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The Peach Pitch: “Archetypes” review

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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DC Metro Theater Arts: 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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Classics “Archetypes” review

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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Play It Forward: Devonté Hynes’ Grammys Surprise And Biggest Inspirations

, by Ari Shapiro

NPR's Ari Shapiro interviewed Devonté Hynes about our GRAMMY®-nominated collaborative album, Fields, on the series "Play it Forward." Read the interview below, or click here to listen to the piece. With a new year comes a new season of "Play It Forward," All Things Considered's chain of artistic inspiration, where we ask musicians to tell us about their work and the people who inspire them, after which we ask the person mentioned for their own, and so it continues. This series often takes leaps from one genre to another, which makes Devonté Hynes a tricky and exciting place to jump back in. Hynes doesn't hew to any one genre: under the name Blood Orange, he produces pop music; under his own name, he writes evocative scores for TV shows and movies. Now, he's also working at the forefront of classical music, collaborating with artists like Philip Glass. Hynes' latest album, Fields — a collaboration with…

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Zoellner Center concert preview: Third Coast Percussion discuss genre-defying music and what to expect at Bethlehem show

May 26, 2021, by Jay Honstetter

They began by playing DIY concerts in their native Chicago. They have performed on four continents, snagged two Grammys (plus a third nomination), made 13 albums, and have broken down genre barriers repeatedly. For 16 years, Third Coast Percussion has been stretching the limits of classical percussion music through collaboration and experimentation. The group’s newest album “Archetypes,” explores new territory with pieces centered around 12 of Carl Jung’s archetypes and features world-renowned classical guitarist Sergio Assad and his daughter composer, vocalist, pianist, arranger Clarice Assad — in a collaborative performance that draws inspiration from Brazillian jazz to classical minimalism and beyond. Third Coast Percussion has created a program for Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center’s (virtual) guest artist series, On Stage At Home. The program will be available from March 19 through April 19 and will feature the ensemble performing an eclectic mix of their genre-defying works. Band member and co-founder…

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Grammy-winning percussionists to rap on entrepreneurship and racial justice

, by David Siegel

GMU resident artists Third Coast Percussion ensemble also providing music training to NOVA school students. As we in the performing arts continue to struggle with finances and other resources in the aftershock of COVID-19, with no end in sight, how can we inform taxpayers and policymakers of the value of the performing arts—beyond entertainment and filling seats—as we seek additional public funds? More and more, some artists are going into their communities to show their value. One example is Third Coast Percussion, the Grammy Award–winning group currently Artist-in-Residence at George Mason University. While providing unique virtual music training to Northern Virginia public school students, Third Coast Percussion will appear November 10, 2020, in an online event to discuss critical issues such as music and racial justice in America as well as what drives their entrepreneurial spirit. “We are so lucky to be working with such an innovative ensemble of musicians who are embracing these challenging times…

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For Devonté Hynes, His First Grammy Nom — For Classical Music — ‘Feels Like Doors Opening’

March 12, 2021, by Rebecca Milzoff

We are honored that our album Fields, a collaboration with composer, producer, and performer Devonté Hynes, has been nominated for GRAMMY® Awards in two categories. Check out this fantastic feature on Devonté, and hear about why nominations in the classical category are so special to him. Producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Devonté Hynes, 35, has worked with acts like Solange, Carly Rae Jepsen, HAIM and Mariah Carey; records on his own as Blood Orange; and has scored screen projects, including Queen & Slim and HBO’s We Are Who We Are. But his first-ever Grammy nomination came in a wholly unexpected realm: classical music. Fields — a suite of his music recorded by Third Coast Percussion, with Hynes himself on synths — began three years ago as one piece that Hynes was commissioned to write for a dance performance. Now he’s nominated for best chamber music/small ensemble performance. (The album is also up for best engineering.) No one’s more surprised than Hynes himself. Below, he reflects…

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