“... Michael Mazzarella is one of the most important songwriters of the past 25 years ...”
Bucketfull Of Brains (UK)
“Michael Mazzarella – Songwriter (Kool Kat Musik)
As the leader of the Rooks and as a solo artist, Michael Mazzarella has released some of the most outstanding – and deeply felt and personal – pop music of the past 20 years. Songwriter is a 5-disc collection of all things Mazzarella: it basically takes his entire songwriting output and presents it in a new light by juxtaposing all the tracks in an entirely different order from their original release. The quality of it all is revelatory, as is a 21-track bonus disc of previously unreleased demos – “Shades of Green,” “A Great Pretender,” “To Tell the Truth” and “Save Me Baby” (to name just a few) are all classic Maz.”
“Michael is best known as leader of the cult power pop band The Rooks, yet his solo work is full of lovingly crafted melodies and heartfelt lyrics.”
“Michael Mazzarella is certainly no stranger to pop fans worldwide; he's written some of the classiest tunes this decade (as one music biz insider once stated, the Rooks' "Reasons" deserves to be heard in every home).
“Mazzarella's songs are expressive, emotional and well versed in both the human condition and pop music tradition."
“Songwriter Michael Mazzarella has penned some of the most beautiful and frank songs this side of John Lennon.
International Pop Overthrow
"Michael Mazzarella's songs are some of the best this last decade has produced and his vocals are appealingly raw and sweet at the same time."
"Mazzarella's memorable melodies, well thought out arrangements and brilliant harmonies combine for an intoxicating effect."
“... Michael Mazzarella has honed his perennially fed-up persona to perfection ... if you don't enjoy this, you don't enjoy music.
“When an artist presents his/her wares in this (METHODS OF A MAD ROOK demo) form, their lyrics are left vulnerable to close scrutiny, but Mazzarella passes with flying colors, showing himself to be a deep, introspective songwriter creating obscure yet powerful images, not unlike John Lennon without the intense anger.
“Mazzarella is one of those rare songwriters that obviously can't provide anything mediocre leave alone bad."
“REASONS - The Rooks...Not only one of the finest pop songs ever to come out of N.Y., this swirling masterpiece from Michael Mazzarella and the gang is one of the genre's defining moments, period
John M. Borack
“No exaggeration - if Paul McCartney or George Harrison were penning songs like "Steeplechase" and "Down," these days, they'd be getting four and a half stars in Rolling Stone ...
Don Harrison/In Tune Magazine
“The Rooks prove why they are considered one of the best bands around. They command a Byrdsyan-Beatlesesque sound without any recognizable Beatles tunes or Byrds riffs. It's a secret, it's a stunt, it's sacred.
“Perhaps better than any band around today, The Rooks glean influences from their forefathers and foremothers without ever sounding retro. This is for the most part due to the talents and passions of lead singer/songwriter Michael Mazzarella ...
David Bash/Bucketfull Of Brains
“... the band is too immediate and fresh to be consigned to a mere sound-alike, soundtrack ... the Rooks state their case simply and effectively ... they're a now sound (and dare I utter it, a WOW sound to boot).
“It would be hard to imagine power pop in the 1990s without the Rooks. Revered by pop fans and music critics, the New York-based group released some of the most poignant, beautiful music of the past decade.
“I firmly believe that Michael Mazzarella is the powerpop version of Nick Drake in that he has such a pastoral folky sensibility which he applies generously to the usual Beatles-Beach Boys-Byrds-Big Star template that is common in this genre.
Kevin M. Mathews /The Power Of Pop
“Mazzarella has the rare ability to make you want to listen to what he is singing. Short passages of positive counseling (IN A PINWHEEL SPIN), or the Sandberg Americana meets Poe macabre (WAR), or the all-knowing (STEEPLECHASE).
What can be more frightening than LOVE SAID TO ME’s psycho-chemically inspired lyrics?”
Richard Cody/Sound Rewards
“Michael Mazzarella has always pushed the envelope in terms of his art, challenging both the listener and himself while staying within the confines of a three-minute pop song. The starkly poetic lyrics and the impeccably arranged music on Soda Pop Gramophone combine to make it a release that demands your attention and one that will definitely land in my top 10 of 2010.
John M. Borack/Goldmine Magazine
“God bless Michael Mazzarella. The frontman of the pop band The Rooks just went out on a limb and I feel like I’m dangling up there with him. There was no screwing around when this vastly under-appreciated singer/songwriter decided to title his new solo CD Grey Over An Autumn Winter. Songs "Winter Over Me," "You Like Me" or "She Said" are dreary enough to make one feel that we’ve lost the other two seasons for good. Autumn Winter’s closer "Dear Mariann" is so gloom-addled, I feel my discomfort rise as if I’m peeking into a secret key-hole at the top of an off-limits staircase. Even if I didn’t know that the song is sung to Mazzarella’s dead mother, I still would find it just creepy enough to want to go on that ride again. Mazzarella’s broken voice makes my skin crawl in a way that excites my ears.
-DAVID MONTAGUE/Whiskey Soda
"Michael Mazzarella has been compared to John Lennon, which might make you realize that this isn't just any other band. Check this band out...PLEASE!"
Sound Effects (Sweden)
“... few artists have demonstrated the ability to build on The Beatles tuneful legacy with enough originality to add their own twists and shouts. New York's Rooks, led by the immensely talented Michael Mazzarella, is one of the rare exceptions.
“The Rooks continue to amaze. In the Spring of 1994, an 11 song sound design was released with the running threads forming a pattern of perfection (The Rooks /Guardian Records). It was ear-marked for greatness at about the point where the guitar solo kicks in on the album's opening lightning bolt "Love Said To Me ... The musical maturity level grows in leaps and bounds ... Collectively they are The Rooks and together they are easily one of pop's best bands anywhere.”
Kevin McGeogh/Music For Moderns
"The Rooks are causing a critical ruckus with lead singer/songwriter Michael Mazzarella's Lennonesque vocals laying lusciously atop wonderfully tight, energetic melodies. You can - and should - pick up all of their material!"
“The songs on Grey Over An Autumn Winter contain a sweetness, an honesty, deliver a bite and display how much Mazzarella has matured as a songwriter. The songs are released with vocal approaches not heard in Mazzarella's previous work. From the opening Simon & Garfunkel-esque Recollections Of A Young Girl Gone to the chilling look at who we've become as a society commentary The Ballad Of Who Are We and throughout, this CD is a winner all the way.
“Folk Songs For The Curious Few is perhaps Mazzarella's most eloquently regal, yet still somehow understated undertaking to date. To these ears however, the true undeniable gem in this entire collection is "Shine a Little," which somehow re-creates the deepest, most richly evocative soundscapes of The Rooks at their prime and peak.
Gary Gold/The Gary Gold Report
“Michael Mazzarella is a legend among power pop fans for his work with the Rooks. His solo career has concentrated on improving his songwriting abilities and his latest offering "Folk Songs For The Curious Few" is similar to the last album "Grey Over An Autumn Winter," which presents a song cycle in somber tones. Vocals as sharp as ever, Mazzarella is sounding more like a mix of Colin Bluntone and Chris Bell ...”
“New music from Michael Mazzarella of The Rooks is always welcome, and his solo excursion, Grey Over An Autumn Winter, is the sound of a gifted songwriter following his muse down a muted, often harrowing path.”
JOHN M. BORACK/Rave On
"From start to finish, almost no comparisons can be drawn to anything else ever done. The music has a timeless, craftsman-like quality-their somewhat cerebral and almost bizarre pop seems deserving of it's own genre."
AMG (All Music Guide)
“The Rooks are a New York based quartet centered around the vocal and compositional skills of one Michael Mazzarella. If you like a tune and lyrical twist, you owe it to yourself to take a look at The Rooks.
"This quartet's latest record (A Wishing Well) was everything a pop music fan could hope for. A dozen melodic, guitar driven songs, each one chiseled and polished until it radiated a knowing inner light. One listen proved that songcraft was this band's prime directive; any other ambitions were checked at the door." -
Mark Keating/Sound Views Magazine
“There's nothing cliché about Mazzarella's CD Grey Over An Autumn Winter. The mouthpiece for the power pop band The Rooks has grown a bit older and probably a little wiser. Known for his insatiable melodies, hooks and harmonies with The Rooks, Michael now presents music for the lonely hearts, troubled isolates and reclusive rejects who stow away in the grays of their autumn-winters.”
“Grey Over An Autumn Winter: Within eleven songs, Mazzarella has managed to (at least to this listener) conjure moods and sounds of confusion, mystery, acrimony, warmth, loss, beauty, isolation and finally heavy reflection. I simply cannot recall another album sounding quite like this one. Perhaps it’s the start of something great.”
LESTER SILLS /Venus Flytrap
"As close to perfection as you're likely to get, the veteran Rooks seamlessly blend their pop with folk psychedelia, straight up rock and anything else that might be floating around in Michael Mazzarella's beautiful brain!"
San Francisco Bay Guardian
"A small but growing number of rock critics are claiming that singer/songwriter Michael Mazzarella is God. Personally, I wouldn't even claim he's Rod. It might go to his head and he'd stop making such revelatory rock 'n roll."
New York Press