August 6, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. Her given name was Anna Marie Wooldridge.
August 14th, 2010 in New York City.
Jazz Vocalist, Composer, Actress, and Voice of Civil Rights
Singing alongside jazz greats such as Stan Getz, Max Roach, and Sonny Rollins is just a part of vocalist and composer Abbey Lincoln’s expansive career. She began as a cabaret singer, starred in films with Sidney Poitier, and became one of the first musicians to sound her voice as a call against racism in the United States. She continued to develop her own music into her late 70s.
Her next album, That’s Him (Riverside, 1957), featured Sonny Rollins, Paul Chambers, and the drummer Max Roach, whom she would marry in 1962. Roach, who was not only a prominent bebop musician, but also an outspoken civil rights activist, brought Lincoln under his wing, and featured her on his politically charged 1960 album We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite.
In the 1960s, Lincoln’s career became focused around acting. She had dominant roles in films and television, and even starred opposite Sidney Poitier in the 1968 movie For Love of Ivy.
After divorcing Roach in 1970, Lincoln led a solitary lifestyle in Los Angeles, and took a soul-searching trio to Africa. She turned inward, and explored her abilities as a songwriter, composer, and folk singer. She moved to New York City in the 1980s, and recorded albums throughout the next few decades with musicians such as Stan Getz, Hank Jones, Roy Hargrove, Kenny Barron, and many others.
Lincoln released her last album, Abbey Sings Abbey, in 2007. The recording focused solely on Lincoln’s original lyrics and compositions, many of which involved a folk-music aesthetic inspired by Bob Dylan and other American roots music songwriters. The songs highlight Lincoln’s deep and reflective thinking, and feature her dark and introspective vocal style.
Abbey Lincoln died on August 14th, 2010 after three years of suffering ill health following open heart surgery in 2007. She was 80 years old.