Abbey Lincoln is one of the great jazz legends. Unfortunately, there are too many of those... So not all received the same fame as Ella, Billie and Sarah. Since I discovered her, Abbey Lincoln keeps impressing me, and quickly found a place of honour in my music collection. She is one of a kind and an intelligent and creative artist, going more experimental later on in her career. It sure is no coincidence that she worked with so many great musicians!
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!
my favourite jazz vocal album. The production is pretty stripped down and sounds quite modern - in a good way. I'm not very keen on the big bands that ruin a lot of the great jazz singers albums so this really works for me. You need to work a little to get used to Lincoln's intonation but her tone and phrasing are very horn like which lends some of the tracks a particularly haunting ambience.
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.