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INTERVIEWS

Abbey Lincoln: African Queen in a Top Hat

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(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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abbey Lincoln: Abbey Sings Abbey

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abbey Lincoln: Abbey Is Blue

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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 ...

INTERVIEWS

Abbey Lincoln: Spirited and Spiritual

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abbey Lincoln: It's Me

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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 ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Abbey Lincoln: Through the Years

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abbey Lincoln: Over the Years

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abbey Lincoln: Over the Years

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During the 1960's Abbey Lincoln successfully combined political activism with a busy, successful career. After divorcing husband drummer Max Roach, the 1970's and 1980's found her relegated to the back burner of the entertainment world although she was still recording, mostly for Indie labels. Then came Stan Getz who recommended her to Verve Records and who played on Lincoln's so-called “comeback album", the successful You Gotta Pay the Band. Since then, she has been restored to her rightful place as a major jazz diva, with several albums for Verve, personal appearances and other events accorded to a jazz star.

Now ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abbey Lincoln: Wholly Earth

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Swaying gently and confidently, singer Abbey Lincoln possesses a voice and singing style like no other. When she’s hanging behind the beat, gently rasping heartfelt expression, or sliding around the pitch, the singer is in complete control of her performance and is offering it in her own sweet way. Bobby Hutcherson joins Lincoln on this latest project, bringing in the vibraphone for a traditional mainstream jazz feeling and opting for marimba when a mellower touch is required. She can shock you with her spontaneous rapport or she can offer soothing ballads to fill a need; Lincoln does both on Wholly ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abbey Lincoln: Who Used To Dance

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Abbey Lincoln is different. Although strongly influenced by Billie Holiday's dramatic feel for and presentation of a song's message, and embedded in bebop through her eight-year marriage to drummer Max Roach, the singer maintains her own distinctive manner of delivering a lyric. Seven of the nine tracks on Who Used To Dance are ballads that serve to demonstrate the graininess in Lincoln's voice, the long, tied-together whole note phrases, and the carefully articulated words; these are some of the characteristics that we connect with Abbey Lincoln.

The title track features tap-dancer Savion Glover working out for over nine minutes while ...



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