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Over the Years

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Album Review

Recorded mostly in New York, Over the Years is aimed at summing up Abbey Lincoln's long career. Joining her are excellent, but not so well-known performers, plus the giant sax player Joe Lovano. But it is Lincoln's special interpretative powers that carry the day, as one would expect. The play list is rather unusual even for an iconoclast like Lincoln. There are tunes from the 1940s, traditional material, some romantic standards, and her own compositions. "Lucky to Be Me," from the musical On the Town, features some ear-catching work by the rhythm section of Brandon McCune, John Ormond, and Jaz Sawyer. Another fine track is the traditional "Blackberry Blossoms" to which Lincoln has added her own lyrics. She is ably supported on this cut by guest tenor player Joe Lovano and guest guitarist Kendra Shank, who is also a singer of note. The album's coda is appropriate as Lincoln sings "Tender As a Rose" a cappella, letting her vocal chords stand on their own without benefit of instrumental accompaniment as she ends it with "as that's the way the story goes."

Customer Reviews

Split decision

If you are familiar with Abbey Lincoln's art, you will probably enjoy this CD as much as I did. If you don't know Abbey but like Ella, Sarah, and Lena, you'll find a rewarding surprise in "Over the Years." As always, Abbey's voice sells the album - rich, strong, expressive, and emotional. Rather than a retrospective rehash, Abbey Lincoln took a look at where she's been, and gives us an introspective look at where she is as a singer, composer, and lyricist. I considered rating this album a 4 because at first listen I thought it lacked in intensity. After my third time through, I rated it a 5. Yes, it is a little more laid back than Abbey's earlier work, but it all fits together beautifully. Each song is a gem. Abbey's added lyrics to "Blackberry Blossoms" were delightful and her acapella performance of "Tender As a Rose" was worth the price of admission by itself.


Born: August 6, 1930 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

As with her hero Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln always meant the lyrics she sang. A dramatic performer whose interpretations were full of truth and insight, Lincoln actually began her career as a fairly lightweight supper-club singer. She went through several name changes (including Anna Marie, Gaby Lee, and Gaby Woolridge) before settling on Abbey Lincoln. She recorded with Benny Carter in 1956 and performed a number in the 1957 Hollywood film The Girl Can't Help It. Lincoln's first of three albums...
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Over the Years, Abbey Lincoln
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Customer Ratings

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