Barbara Sfraga

Primary Instrument: Vocalist

Born: October 28    

Barbara Sfraga

Barbara Sfraga is an artist who gathers no moss as she rolls through life, constantly evolving. Jazz Times said “She has never met a genre she didn't like or couldn't assimilate.” Described as “consistently inventive” (Billboard) and “jazz singing at its cutting edge best” (LA Times), she’s been on a musical journey that evolved from church organist to rock keyboardist to ‘voicist’. A classically trained vocalist, Barbara jumped ship to sing rock, pop, R&B and jazz. She throws all those influences into the pot to create and sing the music she feels with no boundaries, as evidenced in her recordings, “Oh, What a Thrill” (1999, Naxos Jazz), “Under the Moon” (2003, A440 Music Group) and the most current “Timelessness Frozen in Time” (2006, SyncTimiCity), a collective effort featuring keyboardist/vocalist Mala Waldron, bass artisan Christopher Dean Sullivan, soundrhythium Michael T.A. Thompson and multi-reedist Allen Won. ...
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(Along with Michael T.A. Thompson and Mala Waldron):
Billboard World Song Contest: Honorable Mentions for 4 songs we co-wrote, 2008

Meet the Composer Grant

(Preview) The singer likes to call herself a voicist -- presumably Sfraga's way to invest her vocals with an instrumental perspective (a ala saxophonist). But the truth is that she really doesn't have to do anything other than allow her inventive singing to speak for itself. Always eager to bring new life to the most familiar songs, Sfraga has gotten together with the gifted quartet Center Search Quest to develop new material in a style eclectic enough to combine elements of cutting-edge improvisation with R&B- tinged rhythms. - Don Heckman Los Angeles Times, Critics Choice

(Preview) And at La Ve Lee it’s the amazing NYC vocalist Barbara Sfraga and Center Search. Sfraga’s latest, Timelessness Frozen in Time, is a funkier, groovier concoction than her earlier stuff. Still, the opening tune, hook laden and suffused with a Flora Purim feel, extends for a non-radio-friendly 10 minutes. And aside from a terrific take on the Rufus classic “Tell Me Something Good,” the rest of the tunes are just as stretched and spacy. Expect some wildly inventive singing and plenty of improv workouts even if the newer material is distinctly less radical than before. Just wait until she slides into Cole Porter or Dylan. The lady’s a trip, in a vocal field where trippiness is nearly nonexistent. Good band too. Even if she calls her bass player a “bass artisan” and drummer a “soundrhythmist.” - Bricks Picks: The Surreal Thing Tasty Jams for Summer Nights By Brick Wahl, LA Weekly

On “Timelessness Frozen in Time”
”There’s no doubt Sfraga ’s a jazzbo, but she leaves no doubt that she’s about pushing the envelope, so much so that she bills herself as a voicist rather than a vocalist. 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

”...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. Sfraga's clear voice is always appealing, and the whole set has a soaring energy that is in keeping with its positive message music slant.” - Chris Heim, Jazziz Magazine

On “Under the Moon”
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)

”There's brazenness to Sfraga that's as arresting as it is invigorating. Never content with traditional readings or staid arrangements, she is a master of bold interpretation...Bottom line? Get out and get Under the Moon.” -Christopher Louden, Jazz Times

”This is jazz singing at its cutting-edge best, evidence...of the art's capacity for creative expansion and evolution.” - Don Heckman, LA Times

”She fulfills the promise of her first disc, immediately making the four-year wait for a follow-up worth it with a headlong dive into Stardust - taffy-pulling the melody while being carried along by a gentle, up-to-the-minute beat.” - Gene Seymour, Newsday (NY)

”You might hear intimations of icons like Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordan in her delivery, but Barbara Sfraga's very much her own woman: On her new album “Under the Moon”, (A440 Music Group), she remodels and inhabits standards ranging from “Stardust” to Bob Dylan's ”Every Grain of Sand”, and tosses in a wry, funky original (”Never Walk Away”) for good measure.” -Time Out New York

On “Oh, What a Thrill”:
”Her slow-dance simmer on “Great Balls of Fire” pegs her as a neatly updated throwback to old- time torch singers and blues-belting mamas, and her warm, round contralto projects an earthy, enveloping sexuality on Rogers and Hart's “I Didn't Know What Time It Was”. But when she dances through her own words to Lee Morgan's curvy hard-bop classic “Free Wheelin'” (retitled “Livin' The Life of Freedom”), or picks her way through the tongue-twisting lyrics to “Slug It Up”, Sfraga becomes a thoroughly modern jazz singer.” - Neil Tesser, Chicago Reader (Critics Choice)

On Live Performance:
To watch Sfraga perform is to witness a complete and contagious musical immersion...Her sincerity is audible on “Under the Moon”, but it's absolutely magnetic when she's live. -- Judith Schlesinger, All About Jazz (Nite and Disc column)

  • BUY

    Timelessness Frozen In Time

    Self Produced
  • BUY

    Under The Moon

    A440 Music
  • BUY

    Under The Moon

    A440 Music

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Primary Instrument:

New York, NY

Barbara Sfraga offers One-on-One BUSINESS of MUSIC CONSULTATIONS for ALL ARTISTS


Developing a 1-5 Year Plan

The Press Kit

Gig Hunting

Tour Booking

Conference Preparation and Follow-up

and much more...

(@ NYC Studio, or by phone). 212-426-9518. $70./hour.

EMAIL for full menu of offerings, plus Musician's Testimonials

Clinic/Workshop Information:
Sample list of Clinics/Seminars

EMAIL for menu of offerings and full descriptions

Sample list of Clinics/Seminars

Business of Music

Got a Band and Gotta Get 'em Workin'? - for all musicians (Seminar; handout provided)
Publicity and Marketing - for all musicians (Seminar)

Getting Ready To Gig for jazz vocal students (Seminar)
Arranging (handout provided) (Clinic)
Performance Clinic: bassdrums’n’voicethang - for vocalists (Clinic)

Endorses Sennheiser™ microphones

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