The Timelessness Project

The Timelessness Project

BandWorldJazz

"...these "jazzicists" are a cohesive group, both in terms of their own interplay and the ease in which they incorporate soul, funk, rap and adventurous modern jazz into the mix...the whole set has a soaring energy that is in keeping with its positive message music slant." ~ Jazziz Magazine

Biography

“Cutting edge from start to finish, even when tackling some well known funk, this set of mostly group written originals succeeds in pushing the envelope in the tradition of the best progressive jazz in contemporary times no matter what freak flag it flies under. Anyone who's dug progressive jazz in the past has something new to look forward to.”
~ Midwest Record Recap

“Bottom line: few fusion groups can compete with such jazz-oriented diversity. The trio of singers, scat-savvy Sfraga, Mala Waldron (Mal's daughter) who doubles on keyboards, and Thompson doubling on percussion, bark out phrases with the bite of a brass section, and Barbara's soprano cuts through massed sonorities like a laser. On "Be There," tenorist Allen Won adds his horn to the vocal blend, creating four-note chords while the feeling of 3-against-4 pervades the track. On the title tune, Sfraga and her fearless 'voicists' swing in 5/4 as Won's soprano sax weaves soothing obligati. Sfraga's high, thin voice has no difficulty coping with her own wordiness on "Cool Water;" the lyrics are crystal clear. Kudos to Christopher Sullivan for choosing acoustic bass to get that distinctive growl.” ~ Jazz Times Magazine

A favorite of critics and fans alike, The Timelessness Project's NEW mixed-media venture "Timelessnessity" features the ensemble's creative sounds and original compositions intertwined with the ‘journeyart’ of Barbara Sfraga, and the evocative photography of Barbara Sfraga, Michael T.A. Thompson & Mala Waldron.

Since Barbara was gifted with 12 songs from songwriting team: ‘soundrhythium’ Michael T.A. Thompson and triple-threat pianist/vocalist/songwriter Mala Waldron in 2003, The Timelessness Project has expanded it’s writing process to the complete group, which reflects on their 2006 release Timelessness Frozen in Time. The recording features their original compositions, while the cover art is adorned with drawings by Barbara composed at the mixing session.

The Timelessness Project’s let-it-flow way of being and constant evolution inspired Barbara’s 2006 book, The Subway Series: A Book of Drawings Sprinkled with Words. Some of the Words referred to in the title are the ensemble’s lyrics from Timelessness Frozen in Time. The effortless flow of all this creativity led to Barbara’s murals on Sullivan’s bass and T.A.’s drums, which in turn naturally led to the Timelessnessity mixed-media venture.

HOW IT ALL CAME TOGETHER...
Described as consistently 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 ‘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. Throughout the course of the next 2 years they collaborated ("bassdrums'n'voicethang"), 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 all-original project. Although she had a few of her originals sprinkled throughout 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. Both had been writing for their own projects, and after being commissioned to write material for another musician, they realized they had a distinct writing chemistry and decided to expand that toward writing for other artists. 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 has her own ensemble: "The Mala Waldron Group") officially joined the unit in the summer of 2004. Her much awaited first U.S. recording, the critically acclaimed "Always There", features nine of Mala's originals an

Lyrics

All Night Long

Written By: Music: Michael "T.A" Thompson, Mala Waldron; Lyrics: Barbara Sfraga, Michael "T.A." Thompson, Mala W

Early in the day - through the afternoon
Clarity escapes - into another room
I know who you are - wondering after me
You know who I am - seek what I can seek
Seeking to be in
Though it looks so far
Waiting for the light to flicker
All -- night --
Long -- Long to flicker brighter
Turn the lamp up lighter
After-midnight writer
All -- night -- Long

I see the straightaway - see behind the line, Moon
Flickers into sun - takes away the sight
Let me have the day - like I own the night
Effortlessly sway - into timeless rhyme
Seeking to be in
Though it looks so far
Waiting for the light to flicker
All -- night --
Long -- Make the sight last longer
Make the searchlight stronger
'Til I turn the corner
All -- night -- Long

Hear the spirit song - singing after me
Dancing in the sun - come to set me free
I know who I am - come to feel the real
To a brighter place - One Love will reveal
Got to go deeper
'Cause I came so far
Any way the light will shine through
All -- night --
Long -- Bring the heat up higher
Make the morning brighter
The Pleiades Rider
All -- night -- Long

Tell Me

Written By: Barbara Sfraga, Christopher Dean Sullivan, Michael "T.A." Thompson and Mala Waldron

(Talkin' 'bout a story - "places")
Tell me it's late
Tell me I'm weary
Tell me a story, tell me a rhyme
Tell me how can I cross through to another time, where the
Tales that are great (Tales that are great)
Stories that wander (All your stories)
Take me through mazes in all different phases
I'll show you a reason to capture a rhyme

Tell me how (Tell me) - does it feel (How does it feel?)
When you know that it's for real (You can't feel if you don't deal)
Something found, while illusion slips
Away (Illusions fly away; illusions slip away)

(Places, places, places)
Come to a place (I'm here)
Face in the window (The windows of your life)
Mirroring images telling a story that's
So complicated, reluctant to fit in a
Limited space (limited space)
See it so clearly
Tender and tentative from a safe distance, it
Tells the whole story, the reason, the rhyme

Tell me how (Tell me) - does it feel (Tell me - how does it feel)
When you know that it's for real (To feel the the real you must deal)
Something found, while illusion slips (No more illusions)
Away

(People, think, people. They think they know what they want, then they think. You say you want, but then you act like you don't. Then you say "tell me", you say "tell me, how does it feel?"

Make me a day (The day is yours)
Take it in slowly
Gently, the rain falls encouraging answers to
Hovering questions from some other time, but there’s
No need to wait
No need to wander
Everything needed is free for the asking
Presented today in an internal rhyme

Tell me now - can you feel
Do you know that it’s for real
Something found, let illusion slip
Away

© 2005

Cool Water

Written By: Music: Barbara Sfraga, Mala Waldron, Michael “T.A.” Thompson; Lyrics: Barbara Sfraga

Ooh bop - - bop bop bah di ah dop
Ooh bop - - bop bop bah di ah dop

Poor ol’ Virginia, ya never got it in ya to
Peruse like your sister Ceil
And all those tropical cats with their cool, sexy accents never
See what is unrevealed
Well you know sooner or later, you’ll blow your radiator when those
Tropical winds blow strong
You’re just a heartbeat away from a fallen souflé within the
Calm just before the storm

You’ll need some Cool water -- cool water
To wash away the steam
Just find some cool water -- cool water
To dampen this debris
It’s an emotional catch when a knee-jerk reaction brings you
Stumbling to your knees
And in you mama’s words just DON’T forget to say please

Ten after midnight, and nothin’s working out right in this
Bumper-to-bumper scheme
It’s a conspiratal act that stops you in your tracks and makes you
Feel like ya got to scream
According to your agenda, the whole world’s against ya
As you TRY to remain serene
Well you know Murphy, you got your demons inside ya can’t
Control what you cannot see

You’ll need some Cool water -- cool water
To rinse away your fear
Just find some cool water -- cool water
To remind you why you’re here
It’s an emotional catch when a
Knee-jerk reaction finds you
Barrelling through the trees
And by your own direction DON’T forget to say “cheese”

Keep cool, re-lax, get loose, set it free
Slow down, rest up, take five, just remember to breathe
One instant fades into a speck within eternity
So be kind, and unwind
Disinclined to ignite - - - - -
A chemical reaction

Ooh bop - - bop bop bah di ah dop
Ooh bop - - bop bop bah di ah dop

Late Friday evening, with thoughts of getting even he was
Bug-eyed and wound up tight
He was a man on a mission caught up in repitition
When he set out to pick a fight
So he said without warning, he woke up in the morning with a
Nose like a nectarine
When he refused to diffuse those agitated blues
He kicked it off to create the scene, he could use some

Cool water -- cool water
To slow this speeding train
Find some cool water -- cool water
To show - you’ve got nothing to gain
When an emotional catch drives a
Knee jerk reaction toward an
Army of stinging bees
You might just find you’ll wind up locked up in a deep
Freeze

Ooh bop - - bop bop bah di ah dop
Ooh bop - - bop bop bah di ah dop

© 2005

Timelessness Frozen in Time

Written By: Barbara Sfraga, Michael "T.A." Thompson, Mala Waldron

Love brings a peaceful night
Warmed with a winsome eye
To the sky, feel how it flows

Before the hour of light
Bright as a bird in flight
To the sky, look how it glows

Here’s to a brand new day
Hearts beat in every way
Take heed you hear me
Life’s so amusing
Hope is effusing
Back to the light of day

Time has entered timelessness frozen in time

Life in your wisdom eye
Tales of stories fly
In the night where dreams come alive

Open to all who know
Go with the ebb and flow
Grab a key, struggle free

© 2005

Be There

Written By: Music: Michael "T.A." Thompson, Mala Waldron; Lyrics: Barbara Sfraga, Michael "T.A." Thompson, Mala

ruminating, disconnecting left to tune out til ya can't hear it
sparks fly, the eagle cries dividing body, mind and spirit
you must own it
whose life is it?

re-creating and anticipating, over-speculating how to spin it
drives away the real today, preventing one from being in it
you must own it
whose life is it?

tell me why -- can't you be there?
everytime you look without -- instead of lookin' in
tell me why -- can't you be there?
why can't you be there -- why can't you be there?

medicating psychiatricating, separating from the real power
analyze, politicize, over-thinking petals off the flower
you must own it
whose life is it?

understnding & cmmnicating radiating toward love's vision
doves fly, the phoenix rises, peace is light unto the prism
you now own it
keep love in it

you say now -- you can see where
a single candle in the dark -- illuminates the night
in a cloud -- it still beams there
now - you can see there -- now - you can see there

come to know the simple peace
you find while searching for the center
time flies, the eagle smiles
you find the “in” within the inner
keep love in it
peace be given

generating & originating all according to your own creation
love flows, the goddess knows, the spirit honors liberation
peace is giving
love's light living

you say now you can see there
so stay within the here and now instead of giving in
you say now you can be there
now - you can be there -- now - you can be there

everyone has a place in this world - do you know?

© 2005

Hang On, Fly Home

Written By: Music: Michael "T.A." Thompson & Mala Waldron; Lyrics, Barbara Sfraga, Michael "T.A."Thompson & Mala

time been slippin'
into better days
whole world shiftin'
to what we all create
so now we got to
hang on -- fly home
I’m takin’ to the sky

i've been healin'
inner synergy
blue flames burnin'
through what souls can see
so now i got to
hang on -- fly home
I’m takin’ to the sky

let it ring on, everybody
let it ring on now
through the rain, through the rain
let it ring on now, oh
I’m takin’ to the sky

i've been travelin'
to a lighter plane
been unravelin'
who i am this day
so now i got to
hang on -- fly home - I’m takin’ to the sky

i've been dreamin'
worlds of inner peace
open, deepen, much
more than eyes can see
so now i got to
hang on -- fly home
I'm takin’ to the sky

let it ring on, everybody
let it ring on now
through the rain, through the rain
let it ring on now, oh
I’m takin’ to the sky

I’ve been seeing
What I can create
See it weaving
By the power of faith
so now i got to
hang on -- fly home
I’m takin’ to the sky

I’ve been feeling
Synchronicity
Whole world beating
One with everything
so now i got to
hang on -- fly home
I’m takin’ to the sky

let it ring on, everybody
let it ring on now
through the rain, through the rain
let it ring on now, oh
I’m takin’ to the sky

Discography

Barbara Sfraga & Center Search Quest, "Timelessness Frozen in Time", street date: September 5, 2006

Barbara Sfraga, "Under The Moon", A440 Music Group, #4025, 2003

Barbara Sfraga, "Oh, What A Thrill", Naxos Jazz #86047, 1999

Christopher Dean Sullivan and Michael "T.A." Thompson with Joe Giardulo, "Language of Swans", Drimala, #DR02-347-05, 2002

Allen Won, "Jewel in the Lotus", 2004

Mala Waldron, "Always There", Soulful Sound Music, SS22241, street date, March 15, 2006

Set List

Enough original material and boldly arranged pop and jazz standards for over a week, at 2 sets per night.