Yo-Yo Ma & the Assads | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Yo-Yo Ma & the Assads

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Passionate about their instruments and musical ideas from many cultures and genres, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Brazilian guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad were destined to work together. They first did so in the late 90s on the best-selling Grammy winner Soul of the Tango, a compilation of works by Astor Piazzolla. The Assad brothers were students of a disciple of Andres Segovia before they started roaming the musical map; Piazzolla wrote Tango Suite for them, and Terry Riley and others have added to their repertoire, which is thick with their own arrangements of everything from Baroque harpsichord pieces to Gershwin. Each brother is dexterous and marvelously expressive; together they have an unbeatable ability to coordinate intricate rhythms and tonal colors. (Sergio now teaches at Roosevelt University.) As members of Ma's Latin-American Project, they're now surveying the rich crop of hybrids that has enlivened the clubs and streets of Argentina and Brazil for over a century. Seventeen of these pieces are on the just-released Sony Classical CD Obrigado Brazil, and to promote it the three are on tour; for their stopover at Ravinia next Thursday they'll be joined by Cuban-born clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, Ma's longtime keyboard accompanist Kathryn Stott, and percussionist Cyro Baptista. They'll play selections from the CD, as well as Heitor Villa-Lobos's "A lenda do caboclo," loads of Piazzolla tangos, and two bossa nova anthems by Antonio Carlos Jobim, "Chega de saudade" and "O amor em paz." Thursday, August 7, 8 PM, Pavilion, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park; 847-266-5100.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/J. Henry Fair, Michael Wilson.

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