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This was one of the greatest jazz singers in the last couple of decades, you could even say history. Not like anybody else. She sang at all the clubs here for years, I finally heard her at a 6-hour concert at the Columbia Quadrangle in 2001, almost exactly 9 years ago, this part of August, just before 9/11. This Verizon concert was all good, but she was the standout, and the most mesmerizing song was 'The Music Is the Magic of the Secret World'. I never forgot the slightly harsh husky sound she brought to it, nor had I ever heard the song, nor have I ever forgotten the whole song in my mind, which I memorized just from hearing her sing it once (I've never heard it again, and it's not on youTube, but I'm going to fetch something that is.)

What luck! It is now, and only my second time to hear it:


Oh, I see 'embedding is disabled', so you have to put it in your browzer, just look up 'abbey lincoln music is the magic youTube' and watch it on YouTube, has some clips of her when young and dazzling as well.

This one is 'allowed' here. Oh man, this is gorgeous stuff. Also check out on the sidebar 'Shouldv'e Been'. I really hate to see this lady go.

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Thanks for posting, Patrick. I saw her once about 15 years ago but have always had mixed feelings about her music, since for all her talent and individuality, her defiance seemed tinged by more than a little bitterness. These clips and others linked to them show me another side of her. I love Max Roach but have never gotten around to buying the Freedom Now Suite, but I see there are clips of them together.

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I never saw her live, but she really touched my heart. In 1978 - 80 I returned to NYC after several years traveling and then living in San Francisco. It took me those two years to find a place to live during which I spent the time staying in friends' lofts/apartments, and at my parents' place. It was very depressing and depersonalizing not to have my own place. When I heard her song "LIVING ROOM," it totally expressed all my needs and desires. I got one or two albums of hers when I finally found a place to live, and all her work connected to me in a powerful way.

The Times obit describes her intelligence, uniqueness, creativity and depth very well. A true artist who contributed great work.

Patrick, thanks for those links -- I watched her sing "Nature Boy," an old favorite of mine. I had an uncle who was a Nat King Cole devotee, and he sang many of those songs, imitating Cole's voice and distinct diction. "Nature Boy" was my favorite of all of those, with the last line that Abbey sings so beautifully, "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return." Wise words, and she sings them with great conviction.

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Thanks for mentioning 'Nature Boy', ViolinConcerto, that's glorious too. Not her song, but she makes it hers. I looked it up, dozens of artists have recorded it, I think Cole's is the most famous. kfw, will look at NPR tribute later today--thanks. The ones I posted are her own songs, and those are actually the only ones I knew; I didn't become aware of her until the 90s, although the career goes way back. The songs became very introspective and they can't quite contain themselves (although she does control that somehow.) Her model was Billie Holliday, but Lincoln's deep rich sound moves me even more.

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The NY Times has published a piece on Lincoln's influence on contemporary singers: A Style Lasting Beyond a Lifetime.

in addition to her own discography, stretching back to the mid-1950s, Ms. Lincoln leaves behind two or three generations of singers transformed by her influence in subtle but substantial way
“She always bases her themes on the stories that she wants to tell, not on what the marketplace may feel more comfortable hearing,” Cassandra Wilson wrote this week in an affectionate tribute on bluenote.com, the Web site of her label. “And like the best jazz musicians, her style is blessed with supple phrasing, impeccable timing and an unmistakably singular sound.” If that sounds self-descriptive, no wonder: Ms. Wilson’s soulful but steel-girded style has always felt Lincolnesque. Her new album, “Silver Pony,” due in October, will reflect that inspiration without succumbing to imitation.

In similar fashion, Ms. Lincoln hovers in the background on excellent new albums by a few other jazz singers — Fay Victor, Christine Correa and Sara Serpa — whose styles otherwise diverge.

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I remember as a kid hearing of the film 'Nothing But a Man', but had never heard of Lincoln at the time, and never knew she was in it till her death; in fact, I had no idea she'd ever starred in a film. I just watched it, and it's a beautiful, deeply moving film. From 1964, with Ivan Dixon as Duff, Abbey as his young wife. They're marvelous in this film that comes from the heart of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. It's conflicted, and bristling with racial tension, but it's more gentle and poetic than violent and you're even a bit surprised that there is no sudden outburst (I was, as well, surprised, when it ended.) Julius Harris as Duff's sad, alcoholic father is excellent, and Gloria Foster especially outstanding as the tough, but kind woman who looks after him. It's a beautiful movie, and I've never heard anyone say anything about it since way back when it came out.

Lincoln plays a preacher's daughter, gentle and lovely. The black-and-white photography is very beautiful in a melancholy way. I strongly recommend this film.

Just looked up Dixon, who himself died in 2008.

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