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Abbey Lincoln: Wholly Earth

Jim Santella By

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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 Earth. An influence by Billie Holiday is never doubted; yet, the singer is entirely unique and quite recognizable. Even from a distance. An excerpt from Lincoln’s vast biographical datasheet may be found at http://www.ums.org/artists/lincolnnotes.htm .

Abbey Lincoln wrote both music and lyrics to the title track and six others. In a way, these represent her whole body of work. Pronouncing the words slowly and deliberately, phrasing with a natural conversational style, slurring some syllables for effect, and remaining slightly off the beat, Lincoln captures your mind and heart with her performance. She pares "If I Only Had a Brain" down to a piano trio and delivers a slow emphatic reading of the lyrics. Maggie Brown joins the ensemble for "And It’s Supposed to be Love" and "Caged Bird" along with a different rhythm section. The contrast of their singing voices is refreshing. Brown, the daughter of legendary singer Oscar Brown, Jr., has a career of her own. There’s more information at http://www.maggiebrown.com/magbio.html . Nicholas Payton, who guests on two songs, displays his Louis Armstrong tone and uniquely smooth trumpet articulation on "Look to the Star." Benny Carter’s "Another Time, Another Place" summarizes the album’s ensemble spirit, with ballad solos from Payton (flugelhorn), Hutcherson (vibes), and Cary. Abbey Lincoln continues to impress with her unique easy-to-love ballad style and lucid storytelling manner.

Track Listing: And It

Personnel: Abbey Lincoln- vocals; Bobby Hutcherson- vibraphone, marimba; Marc Cary- piano; John Ormond- bass; Alvester Garnett- drums.

Guests:Nicholas Payton- trumpet, flugelhorn; James Hurt- piano; Michael Bowie- bass; Daniel Moreno- percussion; Maggie Brown- vocals.

Title: Wholly Earth | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Verve Music Group

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