Thursday Open Thread | Jazz Week: Abbey Lincoln

Today’s Jazz Figure is Abbey Lincoln.

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From Lincoln’s Obituary in the Guardian:

If Abbey Lincoln was overwhelmed by the responsibility of being proclaimed “the last of the jazz singers”, she never let it show. As her great contemporaries and principal influences among the classic female jazz vocalists fell away – with Billie Holiday the first to go, in 1959, and Betty Carter the last, in 1998 – Lincoln steadfastly maintained her dignified, almost solemn, focus; her tart, deftly timed Holiday-like inflections, and her commitment to songs that dug deeper into life’s meanings than the usual lost-love exhalations.

And, like Ella Fitzgerald, who all her life took to a stage as if she were surprised to find anyone had come to see her, Lincoln became the opposite of a celebrated jazz diva. In some of her London performances during the 1990s, she would sit quietly beside the piano, tugging at her clothes, like someone who had wandered into the action by accident. Lincoln, who has died aged 80, began performing and recording around 1957, when Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and Carmen McRae were all in their prime, and Holiday was still at work, though the latter’s voice was by then an instrument on which some raucous years had left an audible mark.

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Lincoln was born Anna Marie Wooldridge in Chicago, the 10th of 12 children, but raised on a farm in Michigan. She loved performing as a small child, and listened to music constantly – later recalling hearing Holiday and Coleman Hawkins on a hand-cranked Victrola gramophone. Anna Marie moved with her mother to Kalamazoo, Michigan, when she was 14, and began to sing with local bands. But by the early 50s she had left the district and begun singing professionally in California (at the Moulin Rouge in Los Angeles) and in Honolulu, Hawaii. She adopted other stage-names, including Gaby Lee, before settling on Abbey Lincoln in 1956, and shortly afterwards made her first recording with the saxophonist Benny Carter’s band.

Though she made a debut recording as a leader in the mid-1950s (Affair … a Story of a Girl in Love, for Liberty Records), Lincoln was primarily a club singer, with a distinctive though still unformed sound at this time, but a restless curiosity and intelligence made her gravitate toward the company of some of the most progressive jazz musicians of the period – including the pianists Thelonious Monk and Mal Waldron, and the drummer Max Roach.


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Roach, one of the most powerful influences on the rhythmic thinking of the bebop pioneers of a decade before, introduced Lincoln to the producer Orrin Keepnews at Riverside Records in 1957. Her first release was That’s Him! – a session displaying the maturing talents of both a powerful musical force and a strong character, and featuring a pedigree bebop lineup including the trumpeter Kenny Dorham, the saxophonist Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis’s piano/bass combination of Wynton Kelly and Paul Chambers, and Roach. Though only in her 20s she was already giving the conventional mannerisms of jazz standard-singers ironic twists. She was later to declare that Roach’s arrival in her life was the moment at which she found her way as a jazz artist, but these early recordings suggest that her individuality had been developing over a longer period.

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She was also beginning to write her own material and starting to find work as an actor. Other late-50s recording sessions included It’s Magic and Abbey Is Blue, with the latter featuring a startling rendition of the John Coltrane anthem Afro-Blue. In autumn 1960, Lincoln participated in the recording of one of the most celebrated jazz contributions to a wider political and social context, Roach’s We Insist! Freedom Now Suite. An ambitious splicing of work-song rhythms, the authoritative tenor sax of Hawkins counterbalancing Booker Little’s mercurial bop trumpet playing, multi-percussion ensemble sections and Lincoln’s sometimes raging vocals, Freedom Now became a milestone in jazz history. The following year, Lincoln recorded Straight Ahead, with Hawkins, Little and Roach from the Freedom Now lineup, plus the multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy among other guests.

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Lincoln’s explicit emotionalism and liberties with pitching and intonation sometimes seemed to push her intentions and execution to the verge of separation – contemporary acquaintances including Monk and Charles Mingus were also expanding her ideas and technical ambitions – but she sounded nonetheless like an artist inhabiting a musical world increasingly her own, particularly on such tracks as the boldly vocalised Blue Monk, which Monk himself endorsed.

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In 1962, Lincoln married Roach, recorded less (she was writing and acting more, and becoming involved in civil rights campaigning) and was devoting considerable energy to film acting by the end of the decade – she played opposite Ivan Dixon in Nothing But a Man (1964) and alongside Sidney Poitier and Beau Bridges in For Love of Ivy (1968)

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59 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | Jazz Week: Abbey Lincoln

  1. eliihass says:

    Never was there a more political State Department…they were always going against the White House…and always tracking her poll numbers…tried to create a ‘Hillary doctrine’…

  2. Ametia says:

    Nope, because , money, power, war is how the BUSHES ROLL, right along with the HILLSTER


  3. eliihass says:

    CNN Transcript. Harvey Weinstein has a ‘conversation’ with Bill Clinton. May 31, 2012.

    WEINSTEIN: You know, speaking of un-cool, Donald Trump has a benefit for Mitt Romney. And I know Donald Trump to be a sane, smart businessman. But he has this benefit, Romney comes, and he talks about that birth certificate again.

    How do you put that out of the minds of the American public —

    CLINTON: I don’t know.

    WEINSTEIN: — once and for all? And doesn’t he realize how un- cool he is?

    CLINTON: I don’t know, you know, Donald Trump has been uncommonly nice to Hillary and me. We’re all New Yorkers.

    WEINSTEIN: Me, too.

    CLINTON: And I like him. And I love playing golf with him. But the evidence is pretty clear that President Obama was born in Hawaii and this whole election should not be about any of these side issues. It really ought to be about the decisions that each of them will make on where we are and where we need to go. That’s — and it’s a serious time. So I’d like to see the election turn back to that.

  4. Ametia says:

    How’d we miss this article, hmmm?

    By John Kass•Contact Reporter
    March 13, 2016, 10:18 PM

    Hillary Clinton will not be elected president of the United States.
    Why? Because she can’t win, that’s why.

    And the sooner you figure this out, the calmer you will be.

    She wants desperately to win. She’s endured painful decades of Bill, years of Barack, eating all the insults like so many sins and swallowing them down as the price of her ambition. It’s all there in the dull weight of her eyes.

    But I just don’t see Hillary winning this election, because she’s the lone candidate of the establishment in a year of insurgency.

    Common wisdom and her fierce Clinton tribalists will probably want me burned at the stake for heresy, or chemically altered, or maybe just being hanged from the Tribune Tower will do.

    But this is an insurgent year. And she’s the Empress dowager of the Washington establishment.

  5. Ametia says:


  6. rikyrah says:

    NJ police chief OKs racial profiling: ‘We check out suspicious black people in white neighborhoods’ NJ.COM
    05 MAY 2016 AT 13:15 ET

    WyCKOFF – The Township Committee voted Tuesday to suspend police Chief Benjamin Fox as the state investigates an email he sent in 2014 appearing to condone racial profiling, according to

    Mayor Kevin Rooney said the suspension was necessary “to allow for the investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and their appointed monitor to continue without any chance for interruption,” the website reported.

    Rooney and Fox’s attorney, Arthur G. Margeotes, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Wednesday.

    In the Dec. 2014 email to the police department, Fox stated he was concerned that misguided complaints about police would cause officers to react slowly in threatening situations.

    “Profiling, racial or otherwise, has its place in law enforcement when used correctly and applied fairly,” states the email, which was released earlier this year by the ACLU-NJ.

    • Ametia says:

      Much to LATE. And as eliihaas said. Trump really is the least of our WORRIES.

      Keep eyes on the Hillster. She way far up on the food chain of unmitigated POWER, LIES, DECEIPT, GREED & WAR.

  7. rikyrah says:


    Hey, Aisha Tyler, Going to a PWI Isn’t ‘Brave’ and Not Everyone at an HBCU Is the Same

    In a recent interview, Tyler called on black students to be brave and enroll in schools where there have been incidents of racism. Why? Well, to help white students evolve from their racial prejudices. In the words of King Beyoncé, “N–ga, nah.”


    Posted: May 4 2016 2:11 PM

    There are very few conversations I find more cringe-inducing and exhausting than the debate over whether or not it is best for a black student to attend a predominantly white institution of higher learning or one that is historically black.

    Everything ain’t for everybody, and not enough people on either side of the issue know to respect that stance. Even so, as much as I try to steer clear of these debates, there is a certain disingenuous argument when it comes to those who choose to attend a black college or university that irritates me. It is this idea that to attend one is to escape from “the real world.” Moreover, it is the idea that being in a majorly black setting means that you are surrounded by sameness.

    They are both sentiments seeped in stupid, marinated in fallacy and broiled in the false belief that the white man’s ice is cooler.

    The Talk’s Aisha Tyler is the latest example of this, and it’s a pity that she would use her platform to perpetuate falsehoods about what it means to attend a black school. Speaking with Money magazine, Tyler called on black students to be “be brave” and enroll in schools where there have been incidents of racism. Why? Well, to help white students evolve from their racial prejudices.

    Tyler argued, “When incidents of discrimination happen, that is the real world. You know, if someone doesn’t write something nasty on your dorm door, that doesn’t mean they are not thinking it.”

    Well, anyone black and awake in this country knows that. Besides, if you’re a member of a minority group, you have your entire life to contend with someone’s biases against you and the various ways in which they will manifest. Why is it so important to rush to it sooner rather than later?

  8. rikyrah says:

    I can’t wait to see it


    Captain America: Civil War Is the Blackest Movie Marvel Has Ever Made

    When it comes to incredible black-superhero action, Civil War delivers.


    Posted: May 5 2016 3:00 AM

    In the last few years of the Obama era, the phrase “ __ is the blackest thing ever” has become a bit overused. Beyoncé’s latest video is the blackest thing ever! This meme is the blackest thing ever! Barack/Michelle just did the blackest thing ever! And so on, and so on. The problem is that the only way something could truly be the blackest thing ever is if said thing were initially so white, so nonblack and so ultimately devoid of any color that, by default, adding people of color made it the blackest thing ever.

    Traditionally, superhero movies have been about white male heroes saving the day while people of color are either nonexistent or shuttered into thankless small roles. So by that standard, Captain America: Civil War, which opens Friday, is literally the blackest Marvel movie ever made, while also being one of the best Marvel movies ever made.

  9. rikyrah says:

    uh huh

    uh huh

    Lupita Nyong’o Claps Back at Vogue, Sets the Record Straight About Met Gala Hair Inspiration

    Nyong’o wanted to make sure Vogue knew that her hair was not inspired by Audrey Hepburn.


    Posted: May 5 2016 8:39 AM

    Lupita Nyong’o mesmerized the crowd at Monday’s Met Gala with her slinky green dress and hair that was perfectly sculpted.

    During her red-carpet interview with Vogue’s Andre Talley, Nyong’o said that her hair was inspired by “the sculptural hairdos from all around the continent.” And even Talley pointed out that it was reminiscent of Nina Simone’s hair.

    But apparently that wasn’t good enough for Vogue. Even after Nyong’o clearly said what the inspiration behind the hairstyle was, one of Vogue’s daft writers paid no attention to the magazine’s own video and assumed that the hairstyle was inspired by Audrey Hepburn.

    Of course Nyong’o wasn’t going to let that fly, and she used Instagram to respond to Vogue’s article. The actress posted a short video with photos of the people who actually inspired her hairdo. And not one photo was of Hepburn.

    • Ametia says:

      When will they have an ALL BLACK PANEL on Murdering JOE, who will say what Robbie boy’s saying and who do not support the HILLSTER

      ALSO TOO!

  10. rikyrah says:

    From zizi over at TOD:

    mirror mirror on the wall, america…

    By zizi2

    mirror mirror on the wall, america….

    …Who’s the ugliest of us all?

    In case there was ever any doubt about our unvarnished national character, the conclusion of the Republican Party nomination Tuesday night, laid it bare for all to see. One of only 2 viable political parties within the sole superpower on this planet, that wields thousands of nuclear weapons, decided in a delirious fit of racial and xenophobic apoplexy, to put a madman just one ballot round in line to ascend the presidency!


    Yes, only 10 million Americans actually cast ballots to nominate Donald Trump to be flag bearer of the Republican Party, but with party Chair Reince Priebus’ seal of approval, that outcome multiplies to represent the will of a good half of this country. Let that sink in.


    While the other half of us recoil at the sheer horror that the existential threat of Trump’s endorsed candidacy portends, we’ve seen in the last 24 hours the utter venality of the Republican Party and its media minions on full display. Country be damned. The people be damned. Global alliances be damned. Competency? Who needs that? Wheeeeee, Trump is a giant amusement park rodeo they must ride all the way to the White House. And the hordes fueling this putrid dough of a a candidate? Who cares! Just feed them more bigotry. Nothing matters but naked power. This is one fucking ugly country!

  11. rikyrah says:

    Video: Children Talk Barack Obama

    For one set of young Americans, Barack Obama is not only the first black president, he is the only president they know. For them, and for now, Obama defines what it means to be the nation’s chief executive. These kids, more than most, are secure in their impressions of the man and what he has meant to the country they will inherit.

  12. rikyrah says:

    I see from the 3CHICS twitter feed:

    ElonJamesWhite is a Daddy.

    He has a little girl -Sidney.

    Congrats, Elon.

  13. rikyrah says:

    UH HUH
    UH HUH

    GOP Pulls Off Brazen Court-Packing Scheme In Arizona

    Published MAY 5, 2016, 6:00 AM EDT

    Want to pack your state’s Supreme Court? Well, Arizona has provided a model.

    Arizona Republicans are about to get two more justices on the state Supreme Court thanks to a bill approved by the legislature and heading to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk that will expand the court from five to seven members and allow the Republican Ducey to appoint the new justices.

    The move is being called a naked power grab and an obvious example of court packing — an accusation seemingly backed by the fact that the five current justices have said there’s no need for additional justices. However, in a twist, the state Supreme Court ultimately backed the proposal when the legislature leveraged much-needed funding for the judicial branch to get the court’s support. Ironically, some of that promised funding has already been scaled back, while the new judges will cost the state about $1 million annually.

    “This is just another example of people in power exploiting their power,” said Mark Harrison, the chair of Justice at Stake, a nonpartisan judicial watchdog group. “They can do it, so they’re doing it.”

    The bill was introduced by Republican state Rep. J.D. Mesnard, who denies that it is politically motivated court packing.

    “More heads are better than fewer heads, especially when it comes to interpreting laws and the constitution,” he told the Associated Press.

    Supporters point to the growth in Arizona’s population to justify expanding the state’s top court, as well as the fact that other states have larger benches. The measure’s opponents, many of them in the judicial system themselves, say the workload remains the same and that funding for an extra two judges could be better spent elsewhere.

    “It is a form court packing, which is to change the way the court operates, the balance on the court, through an immediate change in number of members on the institution rather than through the natural evolution of vacancy,” Patricia Norris, an appellate judge in the state, told TPM.

  14. Ametia says:



    • Ametia says:

      ‘In 2014, President Obama lost college-educated voters…

      ‘In 2014, President Obama lost WHITE college-educated voters…


  15. rikyrah says:

    tee hee hee

    Man….every ad I’d put out for Senate would begin with a picture of Trump morphing into whatever GOP Senate candidate there is.

    I would NEVER allow the two of them to be divorced from one another.

    McCain on tape: Trump damages my reelection hopes

    ‘If Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket,’ the senator says in a recording obtained by POLITICO, ‘this may be the race of my life.’
    05/05/16 05:17 AM EDT

    Publicly, John McCain insists Donald Trump will have a negligible effect on his campaign for reelection. But behind closed doors at a fundraiser in Arizona last month, the Republican senator and two-time presidential hopeful offered a far more dire assessment to his supporters.

    “If Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket, here in Arizona, with over 30 percent of the vote being the Hispanic vote, no doubt that this may be the race of my life,” McCain said, according to a recording of the event obtained by POLITICO. “If you listen or watch Hispanic media in the state and in the country, you will see that it is all anti-Trump. The Hispanic community is roused and angry in a way that I’ve never seen in 30 years.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    President Obama in Flint:

    Obama said, “It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how responsible you are, how you raise your kids. You can’t set up a whole water system for a city. That’s not something you do by yourself. You do it with other people. You can’t hire your own fire department or your own police force, or your own army. They’re things we have to do together. Basic things that we all benefit from.”

    President Obama attacked the heart of small government ideology, “Volunteers don’t build water systems and keep lead from leaching into our drinking glasses. We can’t rely on faith groups to reinforce bridges and repave runways at the airport. We can’t ask second graders, even ones as patriotic as Isiah Britt, who raised all that money, to raise enough money to keep our kids healthy. You hear a lot about government overreach. Oh, Obama, he’s for big government. Listen, it’s not government overreach to say our government’s responsible for making sure that you can wash your hands in your own sink, or shower in your own home, or cook for your family. These are the most basic services. There’s no more basic element sustaining human life than water. It’s not too much to expect for all Americans that their water is going to be safe.”

    Tell it, POTUS. Strike at the heart of that small government bullshyt.

  17. rikyrah says:

    I spent many a Sunday watching Mr. Peete on tv with Daddy.


  18. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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