Barbara Sfraga and Center Search Quest
 
  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 singer to "voicist".

In 1989, "bass artisan" Christopher Dean Sullivan met kindred spirit "soundrhythium" Michael "T.A." Thompson and collaborated to form Center Search Quest, offering some of the most fun, unbridled jazz you'll ever hear. Center Search Quest is just that: a search for the center of sound and vibration. This ensemble taps into each other's spirit in such a way that their improvisations become spontaneous compositions. When they ultimately fall into a tune, it's a purely organic occurrence. All walls are down, everything is up for grabs and anything can happen.

Barbara stepped into the "Quest" in 2002, after hearing Chris and "T.A." perform at Harlem's Lenox Lounge Monday night sessions. Barbara instantly knew she had found her kindred sprits, and the three embarked on yet another odyssey. They collaborated together throughout the course of the next 2 years (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...)

In 2003, "T.A." and triple threat 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 - who also leads her own group - officially joined the unit in the summer of 2004, and saxophonist/flautist Allen Won came on board shortly after that. After Barbara and Michael heard Allen at a festival where both groups were performing, they knew he was that missing piece of the puzzle - the perfect fit.

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 improvisational element always in place, Sfraga and CSQ are on a quest to leave no groove unturned. 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. Sfraga and CSQ's newest recording, due to be released September 2006 features mostly their original material. They sprinkle their live performances with a few boldly arranged, yet familiar surprises.

Mala Waldron, Allen Won and Center Search Quest's Christopher Dean Sullivan and Michael "T.A." Thompson also lead their own units respectively. You can read more about those projects, as well as more about Barbara and her prior projects through the website links below.

Barbara Sfraga, www.barbarasfraga.com
Center Search Quest (Christopher Dean Sullivan & Michael "T.A." Thompson),
www.drimala.com/artists/csq.htm
Mala Waldron, www.alwaysthere-CD.com
Allen Won, www.allenwon.com

"Bass Artisan"/Songwriter Christopher Dean Sullivan is a versatile bassist of many musical languages: reggae, Caribbean, Indian, African, and Eurocentric perceptions, rock, country, and more. Chris can be heard on CDs from acoustic folk and blues music to gospel. Mr. Sullivan’s 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"/Songwriter Michael “T.A.” Thompson is an anomaly. That's why you’ll often find him in the company of such a wide variety of musical artists from classical to rap and beyond. Allowing all these influences to flow through him, "T.A."'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 - he brings to the stage a distinct freshness. You'll always find him in the moment, inspired as well as inspiring. Mr. Thompson 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