Powered by Oxford University Press.
(1930 - ) Singer and Songwriter
Abbey Lincoln began performing professionally in the early 1950s, using the names Anna Marie, Gaby Lee, and Gaby Wooldridge. In 1956, after taking the name Abbey Lincoln, she made her first recording, with Benny Carter's orchestra. Shortly afterwards, she recorded as the leader of a group that included Sonny Rollins and Max Roach. In the late 1950s she began writing songs and also started working as an actress. From 1962 to 1970 she was married to Roach, through whom she met many leading musicians, including Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus. At this time she was influenced by them to explore a wider range of vocal techniques, and began to use a richer poetic style and greater cultural and political content in her songs. She became a strong public advocate for
racial equality, and this issue was reflected in her lyrics, and in the
energy, boldness, and, at times, violence of her vocal style. In the late
1960s, her career as an actress took on new impetus, and she appeared in
several films. In 1975, she visited Africa, where the names Aminata and
Moseka were conferred upon her by politicians in Guinea and Zaire
respectively. She continued to perform and tour in the mid-1980s and has
returned to the warm, gentle style that characterized her early work.
The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For personal, non-commercial use only. Copying or other reproduction is prohibited.