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You Gotta Pay the Band

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Poetic reflection and mature wisdom are the order of the day on Abbey Lincoln’s You Gotta Pay the Band, an outstanding set from this evergreen artist. Heading the truly stellar line-up of guest players, Stan Getz's signature misty-toned tenor sax is a perfect match for Lincoln’s yearning vocals. Hank Jones’ piano and Charlie Haden’s bass are likewise crucial to defining the finely wrought contours of the music. Lincoln contributes some striking original tunes, including the plaintive “Bird Alone,” the spiritually resonant “When I’m Called Home” and the quirky, slightly unsettling “You Made Me Funny.” Her philosophic flights are grounded by a sense of everyday reality — the title number, for instance, reminds us that pleasures come with a price tag. Though the mood here has a bittersweet tinge overall, Lincoln does brighten things up with the easy-swinging “Up Jumped Spring.” Her bluesy treatment of “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” gives Getz room to take a heart-tugging sax break. At once tender and rueful, You Gotta Pay the Band delivers on all counts.


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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You Gotta Pay the Band, Abbey Lincoln
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