Saturday, August 14, 2010

Abeey Lincoln 1930-2010

I was going to write something about the film Fillmore: The Last Days but I happened to see that Abbey Lincoln passed away today.

We seem to lose a plethora of giant jazz figures every year. In the last few months alone, Hank Jones, Fred Anderson, Bill Dixon, Harry Beckett and Willem Breuker have passed on. Now it's Abbey Lincoln. She wasn't as overall prolific as other great jazz singers but the work she did was impressive, singing powerful and passionate songs in a strident carrying voice that demanded your attention. She had two great periods as a vocalist, in the Sixties when she worked with her then-husband Max Roach for a few years. The highlight of that time being their monumental protest album, We Insist! The Freedom Now Suite. Then there was little music from her until she turned up on Verve Records in the 1980s doing a series of very personal and uncompromising records in the company of people like Stan Getz and Hank Jones. She wasn't a "pretty" singer but she got her message across.

This is a video of her on the old NBC "Night Music" show in the 80s doing Charlie Haden's "First Song".  Not only is she in great voice but she obviously lit a fire under host David Sanborn.

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