It’s How I Sign My Name

NASAR ABADEY

“TAKE FIVE”, “SO WHAT”, “TAKE THE A TRAIN” “ROUND MIDNIGHT” “MY FAVORITE THINGS” are listed as the top signature tunes in Jazz. The artists of this genre ranked one through five are: Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, and John Coltrane.

None of the above was a drummer; why not? There are hundreds of reasons; perhaps among the many jokes about drummers is the following, “did you hear about the drummer who finished high school?” The regular answer is “me neither”.

With that I introduce you to NASAR ABADEY, of the DMV (Delaware, Maryland Virginia) area. He is on the faculty of the prestigious, Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore Md. Attended University of Buffalo (N.Y), and the University of THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

He has toured Europe, Africa and the Caribbean, and worked with past Signatures and Dignitaries of Jazz including Dizzy Gillespie, Pharaoh Sanders and Ella Fitzgerald.The 2018-2019 Concert Series featured Nasar Abadey with his band, SUPERNOVA (a chamber orchestra)

IN PERFORMANCE RENDERING HIS SIGNATURE TUNE, “ETERNAL SURRENDER” at Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore Md.

This concert was intended for attendees to witness the new frontier of jazz as perceived by Mr. ABADEY; that musical concept was realized when he introduced THE STRING QUEENS, (Elsie Cuffy violoncello, Dawn Johnson viola and Kendall Isadore, violin).

What a magnificent way to sign his name!

After Nathan Carter

Nathan Carter  of Morgan State University Choir
Nathan Carter of Morgan State University Choir

What happens to one psychologically if one is  surrounded by that “thing” from infancy? It becomes the replica in similarity to a pebble thrown into the water of a still pond, concentric circles, the results, almost an indefinite remnant.
On July 15th, 2004, Dr. Nathan Carter died of pancreatic cancer. He was the Professor of Music, Morgan State University, Baltimore Md.
He was one of the outstanding Carter men; his brother still alive, pastor, New Shiloh Baptist Church, in Baltimore Md. His mother was a pianist, his father a minister; so singing and preaching echoed and bombarded his brainwaves from infancy. He was one of the firsts to embrace the Afro, coupled with a smile of “Colgate, Crest, Pepsodent?” (you name it) white teeth. It is said his perfection ran from looks of elegance, to a personality of “come join me”,  making his students think they were in the presence of angels.

The Morgan State Choir incorporated the ordinary and the gifted, and applauses followed their appearances like voices crescendoing from earth to the heavens. In metaphor, “The King” “El Cid” is dead! At 68, “What Now? !”
Dr. Clayton Stansbury, professor Emeritus, Morgan State University.

O

Epworth United Methodist Church this year, (2019) hosted the New Morgan State University Choir, under their newly enshrined leader, Dr. Eric A. Conway. I was there; but first, still full of vigor, an octogenarian, and one of the pillars of Epworth Dr. Clayton Stansbury:


Dr. Clayton Stansbury

Dr. C. Anthony Hunt, Pastor, Epworth Chapel, Baltimore.

I now present to you, two samplings of the new choir:

Morgan State University Choir

Morgan State University Choir

IIs the choir in good hands, after Nathan Carter ? The concentric circles have kept rolling on, and on and on.

I REMEMBER

Cover of my self-published book, April 1973; my birth city, Georgetown, Guyana. I was 27 years old, writing under the pen name ZE. My criticisms were entitled Zeisms.

The current Mayor of Baltimore Maryland is an African American female, Catherine Pugh; and she is involved in a money scandal, involving self publishing of books she wrote. I remember Catherine, when she ran a newspaper from a cramped office on 25th Street in Baltimore. From that to politics, States Senator, Mayor, self publishing books in return for hundreds of thousands of dollars under a disguise! Amazing! I did self publishing in my birth home of Georgetown, Guyana. I know what it takes: writing, designing, publishing, marketing. It takes lots of money. Something smells here.

The previous mayor, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, also African American did not seek another term because, among other things, she put red-light cameras, in the black neighborhoods, forcing minimum wage workers to pay huge bills to the City Courts. It was later found out that most of the money went to the white contractors like Xerox, and not to the City, for citizens improvement. Stephanie took the high road out of Baltimore politics.

(L-R) Stephanie Rawlings Blake; Kurt Schmoke.

Previous to her, another African American female, Sheila Dixon was found guilty in a misappropriate use of gift cards, intended for the public.

Prior to her, the City had a white Mayor, Martin O’Malley, who made governor of Maryland, without financial scandal.I remember, Jacqueline F. McLean, who in 1991 was elected Baltimore City’s first woman comptroller, and she was African American! In 1994 she was caught up in a corruption scandal, which included using her Four Seasons travel agency.

(L-R) Sheila Dixon; Jacqueline F. McLaine; Catherine Pug

I remember Kurt Schmoke, African American male, who became Baltimore’s best qualified to be mayor by experience, and education (Yale, Harvard, Oxford).

Hopes were high when he was elected in 1987, it was believed he had “the right stuff” to be governor. Why did it not happen? There was no scandal attached to him. So why is he not wearing plaudits like stars on a general’s epaulets ?

The city of New York is known as THE BIG APPLE, the whole world bought in to it. Kurt Schmoke’s  slogan for Baltimore became, THE CITY THAT READS. Zero traction; so much for a well educated African American male. “Who knew?”

I remember, Sears Department store at the corner of Harford Road and North Avenue, a major location that divided East and West Baltimore. No other store like it for miles and miles. Sears announced its closure. Under Kurt Schmoke’s watch, it was converted to a courthouse/jail, locking up the people who elected him. He was one of the first to advocate the legal sale of marijuana. Which race is more locked up for the use and abuse of that herb? Not to speak of the social ramifications that plague the black (African American community).

Under Kurt, was an African American Housing Commissioner for Baltimore City, Daniel Henson. He tore down the housing projects, forcing the inner city workers to find housing in Harford County, 35 miles away. There was no hands on industries in Baltimore paying decent wages, so some who lived in Harford County (Edgewood) had to travel 70 miles to work in Columbia Md. There is no high speed rail service, no regular commuting service by MTA, therefore most of the commuters money went for transportation.(Henson is now  a housing and construction developer, and is believed to be  a millionaire).

Daniel Henson, far left, with Kurt Smoke

The citizens of Baltimore need another Donald Schaefer, (Mayor 1971-1987) who brought industry to the inner city, and gave residents financial empowerment and pride. We will still have crime, but we can help the “little people”  see themselves as value, not waste. Marilyn Mosby (the city’s States Attorney)  seems to have that leadership criteria. Let’s see who will “step up!” and navigate this ship to a rock of admiration, that  I could write a more star studded, “I REMEMBER”

FROM PASSIONATE LOVE TO DEPRESSION










Bill T. Jones

It’s a throwback to life in the 1930’s, where two people through occupation approximation, fall in love. It was not an inevitability, but the image building was paramount as far as both were concerned. Their love for each other was so uniquely passionate, it was a spectacle just watching them eat lobster at a high end restaurant.

Unfortunately, it could not last; one got ill , and despite efforts to prolong life, the undertaker was called. What was the survivor to do? Find another mate or live out the rest of one’s life in singleness. He continued to dress immaculately, kept the lifestyle he was accustomed to; however, that became a facade. He was growing thinner and thinner, he was hanging on by a thread; depressed, and without his loved one, the extrication from earth was his hope. Depression had found a home.

How do you tell such a story in modern dance? Renowned African American choreographer/Director Bill T. Jones (77) tackled this at the Kennedy Center. This was told in a Trilogy that spanned 3 days. He used photography, dance, singing, and included political slogans i.e. BLACK LIVES MATTER, THE HOLOCAUST, symbols of whiteness, Islam, and gave a thumbs up the LGBTQ community.

I found him arrogant at the after performance press conference. Arnie Zane, Jones Italian Jewish lover died of AIDS at age 39. I remember in 1988 Jones’ concern whether he might have been infected. He is still here, thus the arrogance and his drawn to subjects of love, life, image and depression.

He considers those of us who put away the screens (Television, cell phones, movies) and attend the arts, as the crème de la crème, comparable to the Greek rulers who raised their children to rule and not be ruled, and could not be mentally controlled en mass.

Our society is filled with mental depressives; fear and flight leads to depression. And the answer is not drugs, alcohol, or isolationism.

There is a better way to love without experiencing depression; it’s a characteristic that exhibits a belief of endurance and a willingness to overcome. A path very few have trod.

” Peel Me A Grape”











Laura Haywood,Creator of One World Coffee House Concerts

It is not easy to ignore her voice. When I heard her utter those words, I had a throwback to movie star Mae West, famous for the line, “COME UP AND SEE ME SOMETIME”

What follows the “grape” line is often  hair raising. This particular night, the voice was not coming from a redhead or a blonde, though the hue of her skin can accommodate any hair color. West was New York, sultry and wicked. 

“Skin me a peach”; “Chill me some wine” “Here’s how to be an agreeable chap”. She could have been talking to me, but I doubt it. Classical Jazz night in Columbia Md. was featuring LAVENIA NESMITH, taking us all at THE COFFEE HOUSE, down memory lane.










Wayne Wilentz, Pianist.










Thad Wilson, Trumpeter

This is the 20th Anniversary of One World Coffeehouse Concerts, sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia. (Oneworldcoffeehouse@uucolumbia.net)










James King, bassist.

Columbia Md., has become the Gibraltar in bringing people together, establishing one center for use by any religious denomination.









Lenny Robinson, Drums.

Now let’s get back to peeling that grape for LAVENIA.