Abbey Lincoln: Development Of A Jazz Singer

Talking to the Sun

Abbey Lincoln's album Talking to the Sun. hide caption

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Abbey Lincoln started her career in the early 1950s as a supper club singer. With the encouragement of club owners and her manager, Lincoln cultivated a very seductive image, wearing tight, revealing gowns and singing romantic ballads.

Lincoln's self image started to change in the late 50s when she met jazz drummer Max Roach, who introduced her to modern jazz and to a performing style influenced by the new black consciousness. They got married, and in the years they stayed together, they recorded a series of albums. Instead of pop arrangements, Lincoln was backed by great jazz performers. Her songs took on a political edge, and she became active in the freedom movement.

In the 1960s, Lincoln also had an acting career. She co-starred in the acclaimed independent film drama Nothing but a Man about a young black couple in the south. She also co-starred opposite Sidney Poitier in the romantic comedy For Love of Ivy.

In 1974, after a ten year hiatus from recording, she went to Africa, where she was given the name Aminata by the President of Guinea and the name Moseka by Zaire's Minister of Information. Today she uses the name Aminata Moseka alongside Abbey Lincoln to represent her African heritage.

Click the "Listen Now" link above to hear Abbey Lincoln talk more about her life and career.

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