Nasar Abadey and SUPERNOVA
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Nasar Abadey and SUPERNOVA

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | INDIE

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | INDIE
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"Musician takes jazz band to Eastern Africa: Professional drummer travels to Ethiopia and other countries through federal program"

Cheverly musician Nasar Abadey remembers a recent crowd of more than 1,200 Ethiopian men and women who took the requisite applause following a musical solo to the next level.
Abadey, 63, a professional drummer, said he heard an audience roar of whistling, yelling and hand clapping as he and his jazz band SUPERNOVA performed one of many concerts across eastern Africa thanks to the Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. State Department.
"It was like a wind tunnel that almost bowled me over," Abadey said. "I was just so overtaken and overwhelmed by it. They really had appreciation for the music."
Abadey, of Nasar Abadey and Supernova, traveled throughout September to eastern Africa via The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program, a joint program of Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The Rhythm Road is a reincarnation of the Jazz Ambassadors program, according to Rhythm Road's website. The late and former U.S. Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (D-N.Y.) began the Jazz Ambassadors in 1955, allowing musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie to visit foreign countries to perform concerts.
Nasar Abadey and Supernova was selected as one of 10 musical group finalists from a pool of 132 applicants from across the U.S., according to Rhythm Road's website. The groups were selected to travel from March through December.
Abadey, who has drummed professionally for more than 40 years, said he was already familiar with the Rhythm Road program and had applied unsuccessfully in the past with other bandleaders.
Also a drums instructor at Baltimore's Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, Abadey said once a friend let him know about the 2010 program's deadline in August 2009, he felt he had gained the necessary experience to apply. Following an audition, he learned he and his group were finalists in late October 2009.
"My spirit just told me, ‘Go for it,'" Abadey said.
Regular Supernova member Joe Ford, an alto and soprano saxophonist from New Jersey, attended the tour but when regulars Allyn Johnson of Rockville, a pianist, and bassist James King of Upper Marlboro could not attend, Richard Johnson of Washington, D.C., and Corcoran Holt of New York City went in their stead for those instruments, respectively.
"All of us have been on tours with other bands but I never had the opportunity myself to take the band outside of the country, so this was my first time doing that," Abadey said. "It was a big first."
Abadey's month-long trip in September was filled with public concerts, lecture demonstrations, jam sessions and master classes at each of the eastern African countries they visited: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda and Rwanda. The trip was paid for through the Rhythm Road program and band members received a per diem for every country they went to, Abadey said.
Capping the program are two concerts, the first being 6 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Grosvenor Auditorium in the National Geographic Society at 1600 M St., and the second at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City.
Bridget Wilson, a Jazz at Lincoln Center public relations associate, said the finalists must create an education plan that details the origin of their music genre and be "incredible educators and communicators" because they may be working against a language barrier.
"One minute they'll be performing in a makeshift hall, the next minute they could be playing for diplomats, the next minute they could be playing for general citizens," Wilson said. "It's a very diverse crowd. It's all about exchange and understanding each other's culture through music."
Abadey said he could feel the souls and spirits of Rwandan men and women who were victims of genocide the moment he stepped one foot off the plane in the country.
"I could feel them there carrying me, surrounding me with love and protection and welcoming me back home," Abadey said. "That was a tremendous feeling that will never forget. I will always carry that with me."
Abadey remembers one concert where he used Rwandan musicians' one-chord blues performance to give a lesson on how the blues originated in Africa but took on its present day form in the U.S. after the trans-Atlantic slave trade with an additional two chords. Abadey and Supernova collaborated with the native band that faded out as Abadey's band continued playing to show the change in the genre.
"The audience got it," Abadey said. "They clicked. They understood the correlation between Africa and African American jazz and blues and the correlation that the blues was established in Africa. It was one of the greatest moments I ever had in music, to be able to make that point with African national musicians and African American musicians on stage together."
Johnson, 35, has performed at the same gigs as Abadey in cities such as Atlanta and Baltimore, as well as on several U.S. State Department tours to countries such as Argentina and Zimbabwe. It's important to create diplomacy through music, Johnson said, and in addition to creating an education plan and rehearsals, it was imperative to learn the background history of each country they visited, he said.
"One of the reasons they're extremely important is because people get to listen to jazz and see American culture other than what they see and hear on TV," Johnson said. "A lot of the countries they send us to are underprivileged and they don't really know anything about the [United] States."
Abadey said the group still keeps in contact via e-mail with the musicians they met overseas and said they have inquired to them about how to gain access to American music schools and apply for scholarship to study jazz.
"We're still in touch with many of those people," Abadey said. "It's opened a world [of] not only cultural exchange but cultural friendship that we're fostering between the two of us. We look forward to getting back over there for one reason for another."
- The Gazette - Copyright © 2011 Post-Newsweek Media, Inc./Gazette.Net - by Natalie McGill | Staff W

"D.C.'s best jazz albums of 2010"

As this spirited and spiritual CD proves, Nasar Abadey doesn't record his remarkable ensemble nearly often enough. In this session, the veteran drummer reveals his often overlooked gift for composing and arranging, aided by a deep talent pool of Washington-Baltimore musicians. - The Washington Post - Going Out Guide - Publish date: December 24, 2010 Author: Mike Joyce Copyr

"D.C.’s Top CDs of 2010"

In 2010, D.C. undeniably experienced something of a jazz renaissance; even in today’s conservative times, the city’s creative spirit is moving along. All the innovation and creation going around ought to result in some great recorded music, and sure enough, plenty of exciting albums found the light of day in 2010. Here’s a look at our five favorites.
Diamond in the Rough, Nasar Abadey and Supernova
A new release from D.C. jazz master Nasar Abadey is certainly a welcome event, especially when it’s with his group Supernova – a collaboration of some of the best jazz cats in the metro region. And all the tunes onDiamond in the Rough were written by Nasar himself, exhibiting his fine skills as both a master percussionist and composer. He’s also is a great bandleader – particularly when paired with such a talented band. It is clear through the song titles (“Sacred Space,” “Eternal Surrender,” “The Covenant”), as well as the feeling and mood the album presents, that this is a spiritual offering to the creator. One cannot help but sense the connection to a higher power with this release. Featuring saxophonists Gary Thomas and Joe Ford, pianist Allyn Johnson and bassist James King, the album is a stellar example of a great D.C. jazz artist working with the area’s best to present to the world a work on par with any great contemporary jazz album released in the past decade. If top jazz music publications did more dedicated research, this album would most definitely be reviewed and acclaimed as much as any other top-selling jazz album. (Luke Stewart) - Capitalbop - Complete DC Jazz Guide - by Giovanni Russonello and Luke Stewart

"2011-0211 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Nasar Abadey and SUPERNOVA"

First night of the 2nd Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival and among the featured performers was Nasar Abadey & Supernova. I first met and watched Nasar play while living in Buffalo where he was a member of Birthright. Supernova, named after the Wayne Shorter recording, was formed in 1976. After relocating to Washington DC in 1977, Nasar continued the group with various personnel over the years. The current line-up includes saxophonists Gary Thomas and Joe Ford, Bassist James King and pianist Allyn Johnson. Thomas was not part of Supernova as they performed to open the main stage for the Festival and performed a terrific set mostly with selections taken from his newest CD, "Diamond in the Rough." - Music / Blues : In a Blue Mood

"REVIEW: Nasar Abadey & Supernova’s “Diamond In The Rough”"

Nasar Abadey is a drummer who swims in his love of mystical jazz, and along with his group Supernova, they have recorded a brilliant album called Diamond In The Rough(self-released).
While the cover has him looking like someone who may have toured with Jimi Hendrix or The Isley Brothers circa 1976, the music on Diamond In The Rough is not hard rock or soul, but pure,sweet jazz. There are only seven songs here, but some of the best ones are those that clock over nine minutes: “There’s No Greater Love” (9:48), “Multi-D” (13:21), “Eternal Surrender” (13:21), “Sacred Space” (12:47) and the opening title track, clocking in at a few seconds short of the 10 minute mark. The album features help from James King (bass), Joe Ford (saxophones), Jamal Brown(flute), Thad Wilson (trumpet), Gary Thomas (tenor sax), Tom Teasley(percussion), Kush Abadey (djembe), Rashida Jolley, and Allyn Johnson), whose piano work throughout the album is nothing short of amazing. I’d like to hear a Johnson album. - THIS IS BOOK’S MUSIC - Published April 26th, 2011agged with jazz, Nasar Abadey

"Jazz Warrior"

Abadey grew up in Buffalo, studied music at the University at Buffalo and went on to become a first-call session player and touring musician. Abadey’s resume is absolutely ridiculous, a who’s who list packed to the brim with jazz luminaries such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Rouse, Gary Bartz, Cyrus Chestnut, Sonny Fortune, Ella Fitzgerald and Eartha Kitt.

The project nearest and dearest to his musical heart, however, is surely Supernova, the band he has led for more than a decade, and the progenitor of a musical form he calls “Multi-D”— a reference to the trans-idiomatic nature of the music’s structure, and also to its post-Bop and modal aspirations.

The Tralf show marks the release of the band’s new disc, “Diamond In the Rough,” an inspired collection of pieces that display the lasting influence of Abadey’s initial musical idols — Miles Davis, Tony Williams and Wayne Shorter.

Supernova boasts another Buffalo native, in the form of alto/soprano saxophonist Joe Ford, and is rounded out by bassist James B. King and pianist Allyn Johnson. - Buffalo Evening Newspaper - Published: April 29, 2011 - In Tuned Music - JEFF MIERS NEWS POP MUSIC C

"Diamond In the Rough"

NASAR ABADEY & Supernova/Diamond in the Rough: If this cat wanted to make his mark in smooth/easy jazz with a big band feel, he could do it and become a superstar. Because he records infrequently, he chose to make this collection also a bit of a resume piece. Because he really is adept at a lot of styles, it makes for a nice busman’s holiday. This is a real master of instrumental music with a good sense of history and a vision of the future. All told, it’s a nice set of circumstances all rolled into one. Check it out for a smooth ride that offers great vistas.
- Volume 34/Number 166 MIDWEST RECORD CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher Copyright 2011 Midwest Recor


Nasar Abadey:

Diamond in the Rough
Nasar Abadey and SUPERNOVA / DPC Music

Nasar Abadey and SUPERNOVA / Amosaya Records

Allen’s Odyssey
James King / Vibrant Tree Recordings

Better Days
Karen Francis/Virgo Rising Records

Rising Day Star
Malachi Thompson / Delmark Records

New Standards
Malachi Thompson / Delmark Records

Malachi Thompson / Delmark Records

The Jaz Life
Malachi Thompson / Delmark Records

47th Street
Malachi Thompson / Delmark Records

Freebop Now!
Malachi Thompson / Delmark Records

Malachi Thompson / Delmark Records

Gerry Eastman / WMC Records

Native Son
Gerry Eastman / WMC Records

My Real Self
Gerry Eastman / WMC Records

Today’s Nights
Joe Ford / Mesa Records

Yoka Boka
Jeff Majors

Free Spirits
BIRTHRIGHT/Freelance Records

Breathe of Life
BIRTHRIGHT/Freelance Records

Timbre Tambre
Rey Scott / Planetary Lights Records



Nasar Abadey and SUPERNOVA®
Band Bio’s
Nasar Abadey drummer and composer is the founder, leader and driving force of SUPERNOVA®. Though a bandleader for many years he has also built a solid reputation as a sideman with several groups from his home base in Washington, DC and has recorded with many local and national artists throughout his career. Abadey began playing drums at age five and received his first drum set at age 16. Inspired by Tony Williams, Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones and his cousin Frankie Dunlop, this Washington DC resident creates jazz music steeped in modal, free form, fusion, and avant-garde styles. He is Professor of Jazz Percussion at Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD; teaches privately, and conducts workshops and master classes in the DC metropolitan area. His debut CD, Mirage was released on the Amosaya Record Label and a follow-up CD, Diamond In The Rough, was released on the DPC- Music label in 2011. Abadey has performed with many of the greats in the jazz world. Among his credits are Amiri Baraka, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Rouse, Gary Bartz, David Sanchez, Cyrus Chestnut, Sonny Fortune, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, Kenny Kirkland, Gary Thomas, Stanley Turrentine, Sun Ra, Frank Morgan, Bobby Hutcherson, Pharaoh Sanders, Malachi Thompson and many others. Additionally, he has appeared in various festivals including, San Remo Jazz Festival (Italy), Montreal Jazz Festival (Canada), Cap City Jazz Festival (DC), Virgin Island Jazz Festival (Caribbean), JVC Jazz Festival (NYC), Morocco (Africa), Chicago Jazz Festival, Iowa City Jazz Festival, D.C. Loft Jazz Festival, Atlanta Jazz Festival, Mellon Bank Jazz Festival, (Philadelphia), The East Coast Jazz Festival (DC), the Free World Jazz Festival (DC), International Children’s Festival (Seattle), Guatemala City Jazz Festival, Duke Ellington Festival (DC), Mid-Atlantic Jazz Fest (DC) and DC Jazz Festival among others. He has toured Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. Most recently SUPERNOVA was selected by the US State Department and the Lincoln Center as Ambassadors, to tour with the American Music Abroad Rhythm Road for 2010. This one month tour took them to five (5) countries in East Africa; Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Mozambique. He attended University of Buffalo, in NY; Howard University, and the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, DC.

Nasar Abadey and SUPERNOVA® - From the threshold of jazz to beyond space and time!
Endorsements; Sonor Drums, Sabian Cymbals and Vic Firth Sticks

Joe Ford (saxophone) is a passionate saxophonist who began playing in 1958 while in elementary school in Buffalo, New York. His melodious, humorous, dark and insightful style reflects the broad spectrum of the American experience, and ranges from spirituals, country, and rural blues to contemporary musical concepts and avant-garde jazz. Ford is classically trained and his influences include Sidney Bechet, John Coltrane, and Sonny Rollins. He has worked with musicians such as Frank Foster, McCoy Tyner, and the Fort Apache Band. His original post-bop tunes can be found on his album Today's Nights. Ford received his Bachelor of Science in music education at Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio.

James King (bassist) and composer was born in Houston, Texas. James studied at Texas Southern University, Hampton University, and the University of the District of Colombia. He is a well-known bassist in the mid-Atlantic region, and performs in concerts and festival throughout the world. Mr. King has lived and worked in and around the Washington, D.C. area since 1977. He has performed with Elvin Jones, Sonny Fortune, Stanley Turrentine, Gary Bartz, Marlena Shaw, Frank Morgan, Mulgrew Miller and Milt Jackson, just to name a few. King is a very gifted composer with a lyrical bass style. His debut cd is entitled “Allen’s Odyssey” and was released in 2009.

Allyn Johnson (pianist), composer and arranger was born in Washington, and is currently the Director of Jazz Studies; and a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia with a BA in Music. He has worked with Andrew White, Frank Morgan, Sonny Fortune, and Stanley Turrentine among others. His recent debut recording "Premonition" with the trio Three for All, is a perfect environment to showcase several of his compositions. Mr. Johnson has also arranged, composed recorded “Divine Order.” His style is lyrical, fiery and bright. He is a very talented and gifted pianist.