Abbey Lincoln


Biography of Abbey Lincoln

Anna Marie Wooldridge (August 6, 1930 – August 14, 2010) better known by her stage name Abbey Lincoln, was a jazz vocalist, songwriter, and actress. Lincoln was unusual in that she wrote and performed her own compositions, expanding the expectations of jazz audiences.

Musician

Lincoln was one of many singers influenced by Billie Holiday. She often visited the Blue Note jazz club in New York City. Her debut album, Abbey Lincoln’s Affair – A Story of a Girl in Love, was followed by a series of albums for Riverside Records. In 1960 she sang on Max Roach's landmark civil rights-themed recording, We Insist!. Lincoln’s lyrics were often connected to the civil rights movement in America.

During the 1980s, Lincoln’s creative output was lesser and she released only a few albums during that decade. During the 1990s and until her death, however, she fulfilled a 10-album contract with Verve Records. These albums are highly regarded and represent a crowning achievement in Lincoln’s career.

In 2003, Lincoln received a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award.

Actress

With Ivan Dixon, she co-starred in Nothing But a Man, an independent film written and directed by Michael Roemer. In 1968 she also co-starred with Sidney Poitier and Beau Bridges in For Love of Ivy, and received a 1969 Golden Globe nomination for her appearance in the film.

Lincoln also appeared in 1956 in The Girl Can’t Help It, for which she wore a dress which had been worn by Marilyn Monroe in Gentleman Prefer Blondes, and interpreted the theme song, working with Benny Carter.
In the 1990 Spike Lee movie Mo’ Better Blues, she played young Bleek Gilliams’ mother.

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