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"The Passing Of A Legend: Abbey Lincoln"

Recorded 8-18-10


1) 2:44 The Passing Of A Legend: Abbey Lincoln (long version) Mp3

2) 1:58 The Passing Of A Legend: Abbey Lincoln (short version) Mp3

 The Passing of a Legend: Abbey Lincoln

[col. writ. 8/15/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

In the long chain of musical creativity that characterizes Black American music (and increasingly, American music), jazz played a pivotal role.

Although it is now the stuff of college radio, and concerts for the well heeled, middle class intelligentsia, there was a time when it was a radical, and indeed, a revolutionary music, carrying within it the seeds of rebellion and protest.

Among the artists who personified these attributes were the drummer and composer, Max Roach (1924 -2007) and his beautiful, talented wife, jazz singer, Abbey Lincoln.

The power of their performance can be seen in the radicalization of Black revolutionary nationalist, Muhammad Ahmed (fka) Max Stanford, Jr.) who, in his work, We will Return in the Whirlwind: Black Radical Organizations: 1960-1975), explains the potential political impacts of the works of Roach, Lincoln and other jazz artists in the late '50's:

     First was going to see Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln present their "Freedom Now" suite at the national convention of the NAACP.....I had been raised on Jazz and had done my homework with Eddie Collier while listening to John Coltrane's Giant Steps.... But this was the first time I had heard "Message music" so direct for my generation.  The "Freedom Now" suite immediately raised my political/cultural consciousness {p.xxvi}

Noted musicologist, Dr. F. Ricky Vincent has credited Roach and Lincoln as being among the forerunners of the 'Funk' movement in jazz and later Black popular music; the 'funk' being the realness, earthiness and Africanity that fueled dozens of groups from James Brown to Parliament Funkadelic, and beyond.

 Although jazz is a relatively small slice of CD sales these days (2% according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) FOR 2006), it sells more than classical, but less than children's music for the same period; it has had a powerful and outsized impact on music, politics and culture.

Abbey Lincoln, with her moving and memorable contralto, certainly played a leading role in that march, and she will be remembered.

 Lincoln was 80 years old.

(c) '10 maj


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