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Press Release 2010

American Jazz Quartet Nasar Abadey and SUPERNOVA in Ethiopia

September 13, 2010 | Addis Ababa

Under the auspices of the U.S. State Department’s The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program, the jazz quartet Nasar Abadey and SUPERNOVA is visiting Ethiopia from September 13-17 for concert performances, master classes and exchanges with Ethiopia’s own famed jazz and traditional musicians.
 
SUPERNOVA, formed in 1979, is known for its innovative explorations of various jazz elements, including African rhythms, bebop, fusion, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, and free form.   The visit of Naser Abadey and SUPERNOVA to Ethiopia is part of the quartet’s 2010 tour to five African countries also including Rwanda, Uganda, Mozambique and Zambia.  Nasar Abadey and the other members of the quartet view their African journey as an opportunity to engage in dialogue and performance that reflects and responds to the history and the mixture of cultures that contributed to the creation of jazz as an art form.

In Ethiopia, Nasar Abadey and SUPERNOVA will be performing concerts at the Alliance Ethio-Francaise, the Mekane Yesus Jazz School, and the Ethiopian National Theater.  The quartet will also have the opportunity to conduct master classes with students from the African Jazz School, the Mekane Yesus Jazz School and the Yared School of Music at Addis Ababa University.  In discussing the group’s upcoming trip to Ethiopia, Nasar Abadey said that he and his colleagues are looking forward to the opportunity to perform before Ethiopian audiences, meet Ethiopian musicians and learn more about Ethiopian jazz and traditional music.
 
Nasar Abadey and SUPERNOVA will be performing at the Ethiopian National Theater on September 17.  Sheger FM will be making a limited number of tickets (on a “first come, first serve” basis) available to Ethiopian jazz lovers who call in to the radio station during the week of September 13.  Interested people should tune into Sheger FM’s Tadiyas Addis program or call the radio station at 011-155-4545/46 for further details.

The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad an ongoing collaboration between the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, is intended to promote mutual respect and understanding with audiences worldwide.  The Rhythm Road evolved from the American Jazz Ambassadors program, which was conceived by U.S. Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in 1955.  Jazz Ambassadors have included such renowned American musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck and Duke Ellington.  As a Jazz Ambassador, Ellington visited Ethiopia in 1973, receiving a Medal of Honor from Emperor Haile Selassie and improvising with the father of Ethio-Jazz, Mulatu Astatke.

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NASAR ABADEY and SUPERNOVA

Nasar Abadey (drums) began playing drums at age five and received his first drum set at age 16.  Inspired by Tony Williams, Max Roach, and Roy Haynes, this Maryland native creates jazz music steeped in modal, free form, fusion, and avant-garde styles pioneered in the 1960s and 1970s.  His personal style is explosive, intriguing, and melodic.  He has worked with Sonny Fortune, Dizzy Gillespie, and others.  Abadey released his debut recording, Mirage, in 2000 (Amosaya Record), and is planning a follow-up release in 2010.  Abadey has toured Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean.  He is Professor of Jazz Percussion at Peabody Conservatory of Music, teaches privately, and runs workshops in Washington, D.C. and its neighboring public schools.  Abadey attended Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia.

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.

Corcoran Holt (bass) began playing djembe and other West African percussion at the age of four and began his study of classical acoustic bass at age ten with the renowned D.C. Youth Orchestra.  He attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., received a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from Shenandoah Conservatory, and earned a master’s degree in Jazz Studies from Queens College under the tutelage of Buster Williams.  Holt has performed domestically and internationally with jazz greats including Curtis Fuller and Jimmy Heath and is a current member of the Steve Turre group.  In March 2009, he toured with Alvin Atkinson and the Sound Merchants on a U.S. State Department tour in the Middle East.  He resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Richard Johnson (piano) is a skilled jazz pianist and active music educator.  Born in Pittsburgh, Johnson graduated from the Berklee School of Music, earned a master’s degree in Jazz Pedagogy from Boston Conservatory, and graduated from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance.  Johnson has been a member of Wynton Marsalis' Septet, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Russell Malone's quartet and Irvin Mayfield's quintet.  Johnson’s Reach AFAR “Jazz to Hip-Hop” programs have been extremely popular in schools across Atlanta.  Along with his educational projects, Johnson maintains an active jazz performance schedule.  He toured in East Africa with the Rhythm Road and in Central and South America, and South Asia on other U.S. State Department tours.