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Vocal Jazz - Released September 26, 2006 | Candid Productions

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Reissued several times since it originally came out on a Candid LP, this is one of Abbey Lincoln's greatest recordings. It is a testament to the credibility of her very honest music (and her talents) that Lincoln's sidemen on this date include the immortal tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins (who takes a memorable solo on "Blue Monk"), Eric Dolphy on flute and alto, trumpeter Booker Little (whose melancholy tone is very important in the ensembles), pianist Mal Waldron, and drummer Max Roach. Highpoints include "When Malindy Sings," "Blue Monk," Billie Holiday's "Left Alone," and "African Lady." ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Vocalist Abbey Lincoln's voice is the sound of the earth yearning for your soul. She is lust turned to wisdom. She is diva turned to soothsayer. In her mid-seventies at the time of this recording, Lincoln is the embodiment of a life lived as a performer and lover and now a storyteller through song. Abbey Sings Abbey finds the songstress revisiting a number of her own compositions from past albums. And while she remains a pre-eminent jazz singer, here she has surrounded herself with an eclectic and organic small group that imbues these tracks with a soft country-blues meets klezmer sound that rubs elegantly against Lincoln's burnished vocals. This is a beautifully raw and intimate album full of lament and the faint perfume of romance. As she sings on "Should've Been," "It's the sound of sorry/Looking yonder with regret. Sorry 'cause of what you got/And what you didn't get." These are enigmatic torch songs and playful blues, dark elegies and poignant ballads all featuring Lincoln's own devastatingly precise lyrics and melodies that hint at not just death and regret, but also a lingering passion for life. ~ Matt Collar

Vocal Jazz - Released October 10, 2001 | ENJA RECORDS Werner Aldinger

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard

Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects
Recorded mostly in New York, Over the Years is aimed at summing up Abbey Lincoln's long career. Joining her are excellent, but not so well-known performers, plus the giant sax player Joe Lovano. But it is Lincoln's special interpretative powers that carry the day, as one would expect. The play list is rather unusual even for an iconoclast like Lincoln. There are tunes from the 1940s, traditional material, some romantic standards, and her own compositions. "Lucky to Be Me," from the musical On the Town, features some ear-catching work by the rhythm section of Brandon McCune, John Ormond, and Jaz Sawyer. Another fine track is the traditional "Blackberry Blossoms" to which Lincoln has added her own lyrics. She is ably supported on this cut by guest tenor player Joe Lovano and guest guitarist Kendra Shank, who is also a singer of note. The album's coda is appropriate as Lincoln sings "Tender As a Rose" a cappella, letting her vocal chords stand on their own without benefit of instrumental accompaniment as she ends it with "as that's the way the story goes." ~ Dave Nathan

Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Abbey Lincoln, 65 at the time of this recording, still had a reasonably strong voice at this point in her career, and although she showed signs of mellowing now and then, she was still capable of performing fiery musical statements. This Verve release mostly emphasizes slow tempos and melancholy moods. The nostalgic "Who Used to Dance" (featuring Savion Glover's tapdancing) is a highlight, and "Street of Dreams" works well, although "Mr. Tambourine Man" is not too essential. Six different saxophonists (five of them altoists) appear on the date (usually one on a song), and despite the diversity in styles (from Steve Coleman to Frank Morgan), their subsidiary roles and respectful playing find them all sounding fairly similar. An interesting but not overly essential outing. ~ Scott Yanow

Vocal Jazz - Released May 2, 2012 | Le Chant du Monde


Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Riverside


Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France


Jazz - Released September 16, 2008 | Concord Records


Jazz - Released August 24, 2018 | RevOla


Vocal Jazz - Released December 21, 2017 | Resurfaced Records


Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Lincoln's place among the pantheon of great jazz singers is undisputed, but this recording finds her voice past its best years. The ravages of time have taken their toll, and the result is pleasant but not her best work. The drop in strength is especially evident in the opening duet with a much younger Maggie Brown. Still, the album has many fine moments, such as an easy swinging "If I Only Had a Brain" and the sweet original "And It's Supposed to Be Love." Her band is particularly fine, especially pianist Marc Cary and Bobby Hutcherson on vibes. ~ Tim Sheridan

Jazz - Released January 1, 1990 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Abbey Lincoln's first in a series of impressive recordings for Verve matches her unique voice and very credible style with flugelhornist Clark Terry, the altos of Jackie McLean and Jerry Dodgion, bassist Charlie Haden, drummer Billy Higgins and French pianist Alain Jean-Marie. McLean has all of the alto solos and most of the instrumental arrangements were contributed by Ron Carter. Lincoln has always been expert at picking out superior material to record and all eight numbers on this CD are memorable in their own way, particularly Haden's classic "First Song," a French version of "How High the Moon," "Hi Fly," Michel Legrand's "You Must Believe in Spring" and Lincoln's two originals "The World Is Falling Down" and "I Got Thunder." ~ Scott Yanow

Vocal Jazz - Released December 21, 2017 | Resurfaced Records


Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

In a return to the orchestrated settings that she had explored nearly a decade earlier on A Turtle's Dream, Lincoln performs a set rich in variety, with plenty of original tunes that more than hold their own amidst a scattering of classic standards. Whether working with or without strings, she maintains a sophisticated and intimate tunefulness; her adherence to melody, and to subtle phrasing as an alternative to showy improvisation, has always earned comparisons to the work of Billie Holiday, though in this case Lincoln more than matches and arguably surpasses much of the legendary singer's work. Her husky timbre, extraordinary sense of swing at any tempo, and sometimes surprising range make each of these tracks a masterwork of interpretation. Though she has always sought the best accompanists, Lincoln strikes gold here with Kenny Barron, who negotiates the complex melodic structure and chord changes of Cedar Walton's "The Maestro" as if he'd been playing it for years, while on the title track, a duet, he follows and leads her with a dignified medium-tempo gospel feel. Aside from the gimmicky flute chirps on "Yellow Bird," every moment of It's Me, down to the title itself, supports a clear answer to the question "Who is the outstanding jazz chanteuse of our time?" ~ Robert L. Doerschuk

Vocal Jazz - Released August 9, 2011 | Le Chant du Monde


Vocal Jazz - Released August 21, 2015 | HighNote Records


Vocal Jazz - Released July 8, 2016 | Inner City Records

Abbey Lincoln's follow-up album to People in Me retains her wise and somewhat defiant attitude, while expressing deep-seated feelings of womanhood, personal growth, and freedom. This recording departs from the prior effort in that only half of the tracks are originals, while saxophonist Archie Shepp and trumpeter Roy Burrowes take over for Dave Liebman when he was with a primarily Japanese/American mix of bandmates. Here it's an all-U.S.-based group with drummer Freddie Waits, bassist Jack Gregg, and the exceptional pianist Hilton Ruiz joining Shepp, Burrowes, and Lincoln. During this time period, she took her African roots seriously, adopting the name Aminata Moseka as conferred upon her by the Minister of Culture in Zaire, but the music is all mainstream jazz and ballads. This album -- which has been thankfully released on CD -- contains three of her all-time definitive statements. "Throw It Away" is a ballad-blues, a quintessential song outlining how people would rather dispose of things, possessions, and more importantly relationships rather than positively work on solving issues and finding common ground. It represents the poignant epitome of how American society has degenerated into selective memory mode. The other two tracks are more personalized statements, but also geared to how the general public is more interested in imagery than substance. "Painted Lady" is a self-portrait on stage acting, and how the performer is viewed as an easy target in a jaunty swing-blues, spoken rather than sung at times with some vocal overdubbing. On occasion using "la la las" or shouted-out "hah hah hah" anguished screams, Lincoln-Moseka expresses her frustration with hypocritical people who boast and crow about their freedom while constricting their domesticated pet creatures, which fly during the lilting waltz "Caged Bird," with Shepp on soprano sax. Revisiting this song originally done in 1973, her line "I know why the caged bird sings" is a personal defense as well as a grand statement to the stratosphere. Also included are the sad refrain of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady," with Shepp's toothy tenor and the burnished brass of Burrowes looking over the singer's shoulders; a pure melancholy version of Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady"; and a nearly ten-minute take of Michel Legrand's "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?," a strong and supple but open-ended statement reinforced by the horns, taking few emotional chances for fear of a rejected reply. During this late-'70s/early-'80s period, Lincoln-Moseka asserted herself in ways that made her stand out from the crowded arena of female jazz vocalists, and -- as always -- she had something to say to society. Golden Lady is not her very best, but should be considered as one of her better albums. ~ Michael G. Nastos

Jazz - Released January 1, 1957 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

This CD reissues the music from Abbey Lincoln's first LP along with two slightly earlier numbers originally available as singles. At the time, Lincoln was making the transition from a potential sex symbol and lounge singer to a dramatic jazz interpreter. Her voice was recognizable even at this early stage, but some of the ballads are more lightweight than the ones she would be performing in the near future. Backed by anonymous orchestras arranged by Benny Carter, Jack Montrose, and Marty Paich, Abbey Lincoln's straightforward delivery was already impressive and pleasing. ~ Scott Yanow

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Hallmark


Abbey Lincoln in the magazine