The Marc Sabatella Octet is an exciting new jazz ensemble led by award-winning Colorado-based pianist Marc Sabatella. The Octet performs Sabatella’s original compositions and arrangements, which range from staightahead swingers to atmospheric ballads to funky crowd-pleasers to powerful and dramatic showstoppers. The music achieves the sort of textures, intricacies, and sheer power one normally associates with modern big bands, but in an ensemble small enough to promote the individual expressiveness so vital to mainstream jazz. Points of reference include the adventurous mid-sized groups of Charles Mingus, David Murray, and Carla Bley; classic hard bop combos such as the Jazz Messengers; third stream ensembles like those of George Russell; and Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool nonet. Sabatella is also influenced by the music of Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Dave Holland, Don Pullen, Steve Coleman, and others, and he freely adapts their ideas as well.
Sabatella has been developing this body of music since the 1990’s, but it was virtually unheard until the formation of the Octet in the Spring of 2010. The Octet comprises Brad Goode on trumpet, Tom Ball on trombone & euphonium, Josh Quinlan on alto saxophone and flute, Peter Sommer on tenor and soprano saxophones, Bill Kopper on guitar, Marc Sabatella on piano, Drew Morell on bass, and Mike Marlier drums, with Wendy Fopeano featured on vocals for some charts. The Octet has not yet recorded, except for a live recording made at their sold-out debut concert at Dazzle in Denver. Sabatella plans to take the group into the studio and release a CD as soon as possible. He will maintain the Octet as an ongoing project and continue to write new material for it.