Talented Washington-based drummer Nasar Abadey has built a solid reputation as a sideman with several groups, particularly those led by trumpeter Malachi Thompson. Mirage documents a collection of recordings from the 1990s from the drummer's band, Supernova, which in the early part of the decade featured the late tenor saxophonist Carter Jefferson. Not surprisingly, Jefferson provides some of the best playing on the album, with his contribution to the live, powerful version of John Coltrane's "Ascension" probably the highlight. Mirage is somewhat of a mixed bag, though, with a few convincing tracks combined with several weaker ones that are a bit of a throwback to the laid-back, fusion-laced, modal '70s. The closing "Chakra Cocktail" uses synthesizers for a spacy feel that creates some unusual sounds when mixed with Abadey's percussive effects: Star Wars greets the 21st century. Supernova includes some fine, lesser-known performers comfortable in a straight-ahead format. Guitarist Gerry Eastman, for example, consistently displays attractive chops as a linear bop-derived improviser, and bassist Joe King impresses with his solid soloing. Joe Ford's catchy composition, "Izit," has a sharp bite and memorable melody. While the band lacks some focus due to the diversity of styles, they maintain a consistently high level of professionalism and quality.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy