The Spanish Inquisition
- Marc Sabatella (piano)
- Erik Turkman (bass)
- Thomas Van Schoick (drums and percussion)
- Peter Sommer (tenor and soprano saxophones)
All compositions by Marc Sabatella (Outside Shore Music, BMI) except track # 7 by Erik Turkman (Outside Shore Music, BMI) & track 10 by Mitch Leigh/Joseph Darion (Helena Music Company & Andrew Scott Music, ASCAP).
Marc Sabatella is a jazz pianist who will appeal to both mainstream and avant-garde audiences alike. After all, how many 30-something musicians list both Bill Evans and Cecil Taylor as major influences (and truly mean it), yet have managed to develop an identifiable sound of their own? The release of this CD, The Spanish Inquisition (Golden Horn Records), should establish Sabatella as one of the most interesting new voices in the "inside/outside" jazz tradition.
The CD features the Colorado-based Sabatella's working band, also called The Spanish Inquisition, with Peter Sommer on soprano and tenor saxophones, Erik Turkman on acoustic bass, and Thomas Van Schoick on drums. The name of the group derives from the Monty Python line, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition", and refers to theband's ability to surprise audiences with their range, which often wins converts from outside the world of jazz.
Almost all of the compositions performed on the CD are Sabatella originals, ranging from the mainstream trio piece Lazy and the Monk-inspired solo Patience, to the freebop of Or Not and the collective improvisation of Frantic, with several stops between, including the Shorter-ish ballad Shades of Gray, the modal workout Something Else (Called Something Else), and the constantly surprising Blue Honda a la Truck and Pygmalion. Bassist Erik Turkman contributes the waltz How Can I Tell You? and an arrangement of The Quest (The Impossible Dream) that is reminiscent of Coltrane's later treatments of show tunes. The compositions are as strong as the playing, which is intense and always personal, even while making reference to the music of other individualists like Don Pullen or McCoy Tyner. The saxophone playing of the 21-year-old Peter Sommer is similarly direct and unlikely to be confused with that of anyone else of his generation. The combination of memorable compositions and engaging performances makes this a CD well worth checking out.
While this is Sabatella's debut as a leader, he has recorded with trumpeter Hugh Ragin, and he produced a widely distributed compilation of performances by Internet jazz musicians that received favorable reviews. Sabatella is also the author of A Whole Approach To Jazz Improvisation (ADG Productions). This book is the published version of his highly acclaimed free online text, A Jazz Improvisation Primer, which has probably been the most popular site relating to jazz education on the net over the past five years...
from the press release / April 21, 1997
"Sabatella attacks the music with an intensity and passion rarely found in the age of Kenny G and John Tesh. Shades of everything from Keith Jarrett and Gonzolo Rubulcaba to Duke Ellington and Oscar Peterson can be found on this powerful, impressive album."
Joe Endorf, "The Scene", July 1997