Abbey Is Blue
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Abbey Lincoln is not one of the best known of jazz singers. Whereas Ella, Billie and Sarah find their way into most record collections. Abbey remains obscure. Perhaps this is due to the political nature of many of her songs or the more experimental nature of her later work, but whatever the reason it is grossly unfair on a great talent. Hers is a voice gravely and emotive like Billie Holiday's and when she is singing you know she means every single word. Abbey Is Blue is one of the truly great jazz albums, featuring a host of class musicians (Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Dorham and Max Roach to name but three). The haunting pained "Afro-Blue" starts the set, which includes her own aching "Let Up" and Oscar Brown's lament to black ghetto life, "Brother, Where Are You?" This is an album of honesty, which shows that songs with a serious content don't have to be boring, but can be truly lovely to hear. Throughout the set the songs are top quality, the musicians ditto and Abbey's voice is all but perfect. --Phil Brett
Top Customer Reviews
I liked to read somewhere that she is rather an "actress with a song" than a singer, with her intense, emotive interpretations. As far as I'm concerned, Abbey even beats her hero Billie Holiday a few times (check also Abbey's 1957 album "That's Him", with "Don't Explain" and "My man").
Indeed, "Abbey is blue" (from 1959) is a great and essential recording.
Apparently, Abbey Lincoln was the first to record a sung version of the standard "Afro-Blue", a great opener here.
The aching "Let up" reminds me strongly of Nina Simone (which whom she has the political character of her work in common), yet... it was written by Abbey Lincoln herself!
But there's more than a few haunting songs on this album (what's in a name?)! "Lost In The Stars" (divine), "Brother, Where Are You?", "Laugh, Clown, Laugh", ... it sounds all fantastic!!
I wonder how many singers could make the very simply arranged "Lonely house" so captivating!
High quality blue atmosphere !
All in all, I highly recommend this. Then download Julie London's 'Lonely Girl', stick 'em on you Mp3 player and settle down for an evening of great, intimate, jazz singing.