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 are not alone.
To the remaining song on the discMonk's signature "Blue Monk Lincoln contributed the kind of lyrics that a jazz singer of her stature can own with a surety bred of several decades of experience: "Finding your one place in the sun/Doesn't come the easy way/Shallow ain't deep, nothing is cheap/ Measure by the dues you pay. And own them she does, both emotionally and musically.
On this CD Lincoln doesn't use the straight-ahead jazz arrangements that one might expect of a singer of her generation. Instead, she creates blues- and country-infused moods by the careful employ of some nontraditional jazz instrumentspedal steel guitar, mandolin, accordion and cello. Her raspy alto with its unhurried bends and shifts probes the nether reaches of the music in the manner of her artistic forebear Billie Holiday, but the album's feel is definitely contemporary. Lincoln's band matches the singer in wit and skill: Larry Campbell (guitars and mandolin), Scott Colley (bass), Shawn Pelton (drums), Gil Goldstein (accordion) and Dave Eggar (cello).
Some of the album's "must listen moments: Lincoln's understated phrasing on the mid-tempo "Throw It Away ; Gil Goldstein's tender solo on the ballad "Bird Alone ; the band's seductive backup and Campbell's forthright solo on the Latin tune "The Music Is The Magic ; and Goldstein's melancholic cello arrangements on "Love Has Gone Away.
Blue Monk; Throw It Away; And It
Abbey Lincoln: vocals; Larry Campbell: acoustic guitars, electronic guitar, National resonator guitar, pedal steer guitar, mandolin; Scott Colley: bass; Shawn Pelton: drums; Gil Goldstein: accordion; Dave Eggar: cello.
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.