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Barbara Sfraga & Center Search Quest CD/Book Release Thu., June 22, @ Makor


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Barbara Sfraga & Center Search Quest
Pre-CD Release for Timelessness Frozen in Time &
Book Release for Barbara Sfraga's: Book of Drawings The Subway
Series: A Book of Drawings Sprinkled With Words
Thursday, June 22nd, 7:30 Set
at Makor
35 West 67 Street
Reservations: 212-601-1000

Barbara Sfraga and Center Search Quest will be celebrating the upcoming release of their latest CD, Timelessness Frozen in Time (Street Date: Spetember 5, 2006), as well as Barbara Sfraga's book The Subway Series: A Book of Drawings Sprinkled With Words at Makor, 35 West 67 Street, 212-601-1000, Thursday, June 22nd, 7:30 PM set, $15. cover. With voicist Barbara Sfraga, bass artisan Christopher Dean Sullivan, soundrhythium Michael T.A. Thompson, pianist/vocalist/ songwriter Mala Waldron, and saxophonist Erik Lawrence.

Described as consistantly inventive (Billboard), a master of bold interpretation (Jazz Times), jazz singing at its cutting edge best (LA Times), Barbara Sfraga has been on a musical journey that evolved from church organist to rock keyboardist to jazz singer to voicist. Her creativity pours over into the visual arts as well, as evidenced by her work in the book also being celebrated on June 22nd.

In 1989, bass artisan Christopher Dean Sullivan met kindred spirit and soundrhythium Michael T.A. Thompson, and collaborated to form Center Search Quest. Barbara met Sullivan and Thompson in 2002 and has been performing with them ever since in many configurations, including voice/bass/drums, performing some of Barbara's originals as well as their unconventional arrangements of jazz and pop standards. During that time, T.A. made a comment to Barbara that what she needed to do next was an entirely original project.Although she had a few of her originals sprinkled on her previous two recordings (Oh, What a Thrill, Naxos Jazz and Under the Moon, A440 Music Group) she was more known for her unconventional twists on jazz and pop standards (pops- terdizing jazz and jazz-terdizing pop...) The next year, T.A. and pianist/vocalist/songwriter Mala Waldron began a writing collaboration. Shortly thereafter, they surprised Barbara with material they had written expressly for her, with the invitation to write lyrics to any of the tunes she resonated with. That gift put this present journey into motion. Soon after, the unit began regularly writing together toward what would become the Timelessness project. Mala Waldron officially joined the unit in the summer of 2004, and saxophonist/flautist Allen Won came on board shortly after that. Mala and Allen also lead their own groups and each have releases as leaders; Waldron's Always There (2006) and Won's The Jewel in the Lotus (2004)

Collaborating with these stellar musicians, Sfraga and Center Search Quest are genre-bending their way to a whole new sound. With roots firmly planted in jazz and with the improvizational element always in place, Sfraga and CSQ are on a quest to leave no groove unturned. All five musicians lend their creative - and sometimes their physical - voices to this project in three part harmony, with a little spoken word thrown into the pot. It's music without borders! Sfraga and CSQ's newest recording will be celebrated June 22nd, featuring mostly their original material, as well as a few surprises.


Voicist Barbara Sfraga started out as a church organist who also played keyboards in a rock band 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 released her first recording, Oh, What A Thrill, on the Naxos Jazz label in 2000. (featuring Fred Hersch and Mark Murphy, who also wrote the liner notes), drew rave reviews from critics and fans alike. On Under The Moon, her second release as a leader (A440 Music Group) she puts a new spin on the familiar while also offering vivid interpretations of pop pieces by Angela Bofill and Bob Dylan. A songwriter, lyricist, visual artist and poet, Barbara has been performing with Center Search Quest's bass artisan Christopher Dean Sullivan and soundrhythium Michael T.A. Thompson since 2002.

Bass artisan 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.

Soundrhythium 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, Harvie Swartz, 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 palatte 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.

Multi-Reedist Lawrence's music is very much like him, it combines feelings of tranquility and spaciousness with an intensity and urgency that surrounds it with an atmosphere of significance. Within the music, one can envision the elements that contribute to Lawrence's own presence: dedications to peace and mindfulness combined with the grooves of rock and funk (his credits include Levon Helm and Buddy Miles) the wildness of the avant garde (with guitarist Sonny Sharrock, David Tronzo and Steven Bernstein) and the creative refinement of Cool Jazz (Lawrence was a member of drummer Chico Hamilton's ensemble). The music becomes a metaphor for a journey through the emotions and colors that occur within the sleeping state; these range from lush lullabies to meditative trances to agitated free excursions.

Her (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 Gazzette

Won is outwardly comfortable within a variety of modes. He often soars skyward with passion and fire, yet can spin a memorable melody into an improvisational launching pad... (A top pick for 2005...) ~ (on Won's The Jewel in the Lotus)

Sound Clips and Selected Drawings can be accessed at:

Booking Contact: Lorraine Tucci New Sound Ideas (01) 212-426-9518 [email protected]

Publicity: Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services 269 S Route 94 Warwick, NY 10990 T: 845-986-1677 / F: 845-986-1699 E-Mail: [email protected] Web Site: “Specializing in Media Campaigns for the music community, artists, labels, venues and events."

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz.
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