Disarmingly natural yet alarmingly talented ... music that's fresh, spirited, and original ... plumbing tradition for all it's worth even as he surfs the fringes for provocative expressions - Thomas Peake, Westword

Happily subverting the mainstream ... Sabatella's nimble and well-informed bebop chops provide a springboard for a variety of stylistic excursions - David Kirby, Colorado Daily

The unpredictability of Thelonious Monk and lyricism of Bill Evans - Jeff Bradley, The Denver Post

Falling Grace

Sabatella is a fluent improvisor, a voice warm and upbeat - Greg Buium, Cadence Magazine

As engaging as just about anything found on releases by name artists on major labels - Norman Provisor, The Rocky Mountain News

Second Course

Marc Sabatella put together a highly entertaining and eclectic set of some outstanding music. This fellow just cannot be pigeonholed: his imagination is broad ... Sabatella's keyboards absorb a variety of styles, too, and the pianist is as comfortable with the avant-garde as with hard bop. - Steve Loewy, All-Music Guide

Recalls the spirit of Charles Mingus more than most of the Mingus Dynasty albums I've heard. Stirring, passionate yet concise solos, thoughtful & inspired ensemble work and interesting cover choices ... all conspire to make this a super-blowout of a jazz album - Mark Keresman, Jazz Review

Hitting deep tones, sparkling highs, and mesmerizing runs, he takes you on a journey into his world full of richly textural music ... Sabatella has combined intelligent playing with extremely compatible performers to fashion a distinctive recording - Frank Rubolino, Cadence Magazine

The Spanish Inquisition

Sabatella is that rare American musician, a kind of Jazz liberal with ties to the traditions and a penchant for exploring different paths... a quick, almost mercurial, player, and the characteristic extends to his writing - Stuart Broomer, Cadence Magazine

Sabatella comes across as someone who is naturally eclectic, and he knows exactly what he is doing on this enjoyable post-bop outing - Alex Henderson, All-Music Guide

With "The Spanish Inquisition", Sabatella establishes himself as not only a musician familiar with the many styles of jazz, but also as an artist who can make each one move with an energetic flair. The band is tight, the music shifts and changes, and the energy is heightened and aware - Tim Van Schmidt, The Coloradoan

A fresh and intriguing jazz excursion ... extraordinary musical performances ... accessible without being ingratiating, improvisatory without being grating. Truly refreshing - Bob Weinberg, City Link

Right At Home

Fred Hess has a winner in his duo work with gifted pianist Marc Sabatella ... one of the finest contemporary jazz pianists recording today. Together, this duo is a perfect jazz match... What makes this collection of contemporary jazz work so well is the superb talents of Hess and Sabatella in both solo and unison formats of musical expression. Both men are at the height of their performance powers, and each song is a gem. Get this CD and settle back in a comfortable chair and enjoy some of the finest piano and tenor saxophone performances around. Highly enjoyable listening! - Lee Prosser, Jazz Review

The simple review is this: a high quality hour of jazz which summons the names of varied genres of the form to the lips, but, rather than a tour of styles, is rather special: well honed music by an in-sync duo which gives much immediate and repeated listening pleasure. Good stuff, boys. Another round, please -Steven H. Koenig, Jazz Weekly

A gem, a model of like-minded musicians playing in tandem, bouncing off and challenging each other to create music that is spontaneous, fresh and absorbing - Irvin Block, Montreal Gazette

A fascinating and listenable series of duets that range from straight free jazz to wry, intriguing postbop. [Hess's] fine musical intelligence is matched by Sabatella's impeccable keyboard work - Brad Weismann, Colorado Daily


What is so attractive about this recording is the opportunity it offers to hear both musicians at length, occasionally sparring, but more often working hand-in-glove to produce some surprisingly lyrical gems. Ragin's roots are clearly in the tradition - his juicy, fat tone always a pleasure. The up-and-coming Sabatella is an outstanding partner, never stealing the limelight but tastefully straddling the edges of propriety. Together, they produce some beautiful sounds - Steve Loewy, All-Music Guide

There is a languid beauty to the music even when the material is built upon jagged contours, and there is a translucency to Ragin and Sabatella’s exchanges even when the temperature of the music occasionally spikes - Bill Shoemaker, Jazz Times