(This interview was conducted in 2002) Abbey Lincoln made a stop in Amsterdam in 1998 for a rare appearance at the 110-year old Concertgebouw, where Sonny Rollins likes to play when he comes to town. The sellout crowd was composed mainly of seemingly staid yet perennially hip pensionados" (as the Dutch like to refer to their restless retirees) but by the end of the final encore, the historic hall had reached a collective groove and the ghosts of Mahler and Mozart were probably bopping their heads to the beat. Lincoln's second encore was a tribute to her ...read more
At almost 77 years of age Abbey Lincoln has been composing, writing and/or performing for almost sixty years, and Abbey Sings Abbey is a stunning collection of some of the singer's most memorable works. Lincoln is a writer of some depth and the eleven original tunes on this CD offer strong testament to her poetic talents. The lyrics of each song impart a serious message, it's true, but her matter-of-fact acceptance of life's crummier bits leaves one feeling almost optimistic. We all have to go through these awful things, she comforts us by saying, which means that we ...read more
In 1959 Abbey Lincoln was poised to make a truly great album, and Abbey Is Blue was it. Not only was it a breakout performance for Lincoln, who delivered on the promise she had already shown, it was also a breakthrough performance in jazz singing.
With the civil rights movement looming over the horizon, no longer did singers need to stick with standards and Tin Pan Alley tunes and could truly sing about subjects that mattered to them. Lincoln picked up Billie Holiday's skill at inhabiting the lyrics of a song and projecting its emotional content outward, and ...read more
Music serves many purposes for people on this planet. It's fun. It can be an escape. It can be soothing and even nostalgic. But for some it carries a deeper meaning, a deeper purpose. In this realm lies the art of Abbey Lincoln. At age 73, she is one of the last of the great jazz singers of her generation. Lest anyone get the wrong idea, now is not the time for considering her epitaph. This artist is still thinking, still expressing, still vital, still producing.Lincoln is in a sense a blithe spirit, and yet concerned about the ...read more
One of the last true great jazz vocalists, 73-year old Abbey Lincoln continues to produce timeless recordings and live concert dates. It's Me is as strong as any entry in her half-century discography. Lincoln shows us again that she excels in being both a most memorable interpreter and an original singer/songwriter. Her recent week-long residency at the Blue Note shed such a light: accentuating like no other, every word sung like her last and as much from the soul as diaphragm. Listen no further than her enunciation of the crazy as a loon" lyric in Skylark," or ...read more
Submitted on behalf of Russ Musto Abbey Lincoln is jazz' golden lady, the music's marvelous magical matriarch whose impressive 50 year career has taken her from smooth supper club singer and movie star to distinctive jazz vocalist, fiery social activist, and highly regarded lyricist and composer. Her unique and inspiring body of work was honored last year by Jazz at Lincoln Center with a three evening concert program “Abbey Lincoln: Over the Years - An Anthology of Her Compositions and Poems”, that featured admiring special guests including fellow vocalist Freddy Cole, saxophonists Steve Coleman and Joe Lovano ...read more
Abbey Lincoln's career has always been one marked by constant growth and self-discovery. Over the course of her first five albums, beginning with 1956's Abbey Lincoln's Affair: A Story of a Girl in Love and ending with 1961's Straight Ahead, she transformed herself from a conventional pop singer into an intensely dramatic jazz singer. However, Ms. Lincoln soon found herself caught up in the profound social and musical changes that swept America in the 1960s. She spent the next three decades in the jazz wilderness recording only about a half-dozen records as leader. So when Verve released The World is ...read more