Barbara Sfraga & Center Search Quest
CD Release for Timelessness Frozen in Time
(Street Date: September 5) & Book Release for Barbara Sfraga's Book of Drawings The Subway Series"
Upcoming NYC dates:
Sat., Sept. 2
1 set @ TOWER RECORDS - LINCOLN CENTER (in the jazz section)
Wed., Sept. 20
for the Diet Coke Women in Jazz Festival/Jazz @ Lincoln Center
Thu., Sept. 14
7:00 & 8:00 sets @ THE 55 BAR
(bassdrums'n'voicethang - TRIO only)
Mon., October 9
7:30 PM & 9:30 PM sets @ THE JAZZ STANDARD
Described as consistently inventive" (Billboard, Critic's Choice), a master of bold interpretation" (Jazz Times) and jazz singing at its cutting edge best" (L.A. Times), Barbara Sfraga has been on a musical journey that evolved from church organist to rock keyboardist to singer to voicist. Her collaboration with Center Search Quest's bass artisan Christopher Dean Sullivan and soundrhythium/songwriter Michael T.A. Thompson led to the present quintet, which also includes pianist/vocalist/songwriter Mala Waldron and saxophonist/flautist Allen Won.
Both of Sfraga's previous two recordings (Oh, What a Thrill, Naxos Jazz and Under the Moon, A440 Music Group) featured a few of her originals as well as her unconventional twists on jazz and pop standards. In contrast, Timelessness Frozen in Time showcases the versatile songwriting talents of Thompson, Waldron, Sfraga and Sullivan in a set of 9 originals as well as a Monk-meets-Funk take on Stevie Wonder's Tell Me Something Good, fused with a rap by Chris Sullivan. All five musicians lend their creative -- as well as their physical -- voices to this project in three-part harmony, with a little spoken word thrown into the pot. It's music without borders!
Singer Barbara Sfraga is a vocalist of extraordinary passion and range with a penchant for free-spirited improvisation, as well as a savvy composer-lyricist and gifted arranger who delights in putting a new spin on the familiar.
Sfraga started out as a church organist who also played rock keyboards while studying classical voice during her high school and college years. Inspired by recordings of the greats, she got heavily into jazz, joined Sal Salvador's quintet Crystal Image in 1989 and began leading her own bands in 1990. She's a recipient of a Meet the Composer grant and endorses Sennheiser(tm) microphones. Both her previous recordings, Oh, What A Thrill (featuring Fred Hersch and Mark Murphy), and Under the Moon (featuring Chicago musicians John McLean and Paul Wertico, as well as the NYC-based Chris Sullivan) drew rave reviews from critics and fans alike.
Bassist Christopher Dean Sullivan is a versatile bassist of many musical languages: reggae, Caribbean, Indian, African, and Eurocentric perceptions, rock, country, and more. Chris is well traveled throughout the U.S., the Caribbean Islands and Europe. He has shared the stage with Stanley Jordan, Chaka Chan, Sonny Simmons, Pete Seeger, Charlie Persip, Yusef Lateef, Grant Green, Horace Parlin, Cecil Payne, Geri Allen and Archie Schepp, among many others. He has also led his own musical units. Chris Sullivan is heard on CDs from acoustic folk and blues music to gospel, as well as labels such as A440 Music Group featuring voicist Barbara Sfraga, CIMP Records (Cadence) with tenor saxophonist Odean Pope, altoist Carl Grubbs, and drummer / percussionist Newman Taylor Baker, Black Saint / Soul Note Records with reedist Michael Marcus and drummer Codaryl Cody Moffett, Drimala with Michael T.A. Thompson and Joe Giardullo, and more. His approach is heartfelt and is accessed first of all by intensive listening -- to himself, to the elemental structure of a tune, to the soul of his fellow musicians, and to his own quest for the purest, more direct expression of sound and feeling.
Drummer Michael T.A. Thompson is an anomaly. That's why you'll find him in the company of such a wide variety of musical artists who include Joe McPhee, John Stubblefield, Daniel Carter, Alex Foster, Roy Campbell Jr., Dennis Gonzales, Matthew Shipp, Uri Caine, Henry Grimes, John Patitucci, William Parker, Barbara Sfraga, Mala Waldron; legendary Calypsonians The Mighty Sparrow, The Shadow, Becket; reggae artist Owen Gray; as well as artists from classical to rap and beyond. Allowing all these influences to flow through him, Michael Thompson's palate encompasses an abundance of sound colors. He hears everything, and plays with it in a way that's ever inventive and perceptively responsive. Thompson plays as he breathes. You'll always find him in the moment, inspired as well as inspiring. T.A. served as producer on Mala Waldron's Always There, as well as poet Golda Solomon's upcoming Word Riffs and Sfraga & CSQ's upcoming Timelessness Frozen in Time. He is also an instructor of non- conventional rudiments that brings the student into a rhythm of self- identity.
Pianist/Vocalist/Songwriter Mala Waldron attributes the musical influences of jazz, soul, gospel, and a hint of calypso while creating her distinctive style. The daughter of two jazz pianists, the native New Yorker feels she was destined to be a musician. Her father, pianist and composer Mal Waldron, became her first role model, and taught her that great things can be accomplished when you take your dreams seriously. Mala's own group, The Mala Waldron Project, is a dynamic and cohesive unit that includes guitarist Steve Salerno, bassist Miriam Sullivan and soundrhythium Michael T.A. Thompson, performing Mala's original compositions as well as her artfully arranged jazz and pop standards. www.alwaysthere-CD.com
Multi-Reedist/Flautist/Composer Allen Won has embraced a diverse career. Allen's eclectic performance itinerary has encompassed playing with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, many of the orchestras in and around New York including the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, the City Opera, The New Jersey Philharmonic and various jazz and experimental groups. He has recorded along with Kenny Garrett, Thomas Chapin, John Hollenbeck, Theo Bleckmann, Jerome Kitzke, Benny Rietveld and Tiger Okoshi. The Jewel in the Lotus is his first solo recording featuring his own compositions. www.allenwon.com
[Sfraga's] vocal work is consistently inventive and sure, and she demonstrates a distinctive feel for how to unlock a song in a new way"--BILLBOARD Magazine (Critic's Choice)
Chris Sullivan and Michael Thompson are masters of feel, maestros of the deep earthen groove... fans of Parker and Drake will surely not be disappointed"--SIGNAL TO NOISE Magazine
Waldron is not only an accomplished vocalist and songwriter, but also a fine pianist who hits the keys with great precision, bringing various musical influences into a jazz realm"--Ernest Barteldes, Greenwich Village Gazette