• Happy Birthday Moseka! WBGO Honors Abbey Lincoln

    August 6, 2013. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    It's Abbey Lincoln's birthday. A truly great singer and fearless jazz spirit, WBGO had the good fortune to share many moments with her over the years, and we honored her as a Champion of Jazz in 2006. We would like to share some of these with you as we honor her again today.

    Some knew her as Aminata Moseka, names she was given in Africa, or Anna Maria Woolridge, the name she was given at birth.

    Most jazz lovers know her as Abbey. Just as Ella was simply Ella, and Sarah was Sarah, Abbey needs no introduction or explanation: she's Abbey.

    Here are highlights from a 2002 interview at her home with WBGO's Josh Jackson:

    11 01 13_AbbeyLincolnFsm_ScottSternberg
    Photo by Scott Sternberg, courtesy of Enja

    Here is an unedited version of that 45-minute interview:

    On this recent edition of Jackson's weekly new-music program The Checkout, Lincoln's longtime pianist Marc Cary speaks about her influence and plays music from his recent solo record on Motema, For the Love of Abbey. Pyeng Threadgill is the singer.

    Cary reflects more on his time with Lincoln here, which includes this 1996 at New York's "Iridium" club, along with Michael Bowie on bass and Aaron Walker on drums, when she sang her composition "Bird Alone":

    Here is a video of Lincoln performing her composition "Down Here Below" with Cary:

    Abbey was featured several times on our nationally syndicated program JazzSet: Click here to hear a recording we made of Abbey in 1984 at the Peppermint Lounge in Orange, New Jersey with pianist James Weidman, and brothers Billy and Mark Johnson on bass and drums, respectively. Weidman also shares recollections of Abbey in this edition of JazzSet, which aired in 2011, three years after her death.

    Also in 2011, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves and Cassandra Wilson explored the Abbey Lincoln Songbook in this tribute to Abbey at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

    Bridgewater, Musical Director Terri Lyne Carrington, Wilson and Reeves
    Bridgewater, Musical Director Terri Lyne Carrington, Wilson and Reeves

    Also for JazzSet, Abbey performed at the Detroit International Jazz Festival in 2000, with Brandon McCune on piano, John Ormond on bass and Jaz Sawyer on drums.

    In 2010, WBGO's Michael Bourne hosted a special two-hour tribute and retrospective of Abbey's greatest recordings on our show Singers Unlimited.

    First hour:

    Second hour:

    Finally, Monifa Brown, the host of WBGO's Saturday Afternoon Jazz, contributes this poem to the singer.

    Happy birthday and thank you, Abbey, from all your friends at WBGO!


    By Monifa Brown

    © 2013

    Abbey Lincoln sings the songs of me and you

    Oh yeah, She could write it for a song

    Molding time and space into the here and now

    Unearthing encrypted tales risen from the dusty embers of Mother Earth


    Crocheting Indigo and Fuchsia singed lines with golden stroked wishes

    Weaving yesterdays with tomorrows into a patchwork of Turtle Dreams

    Shifting the continental plates with pure invention and intention…

    making our world seem wondrously small

    connecting you and I to he and she and him and her and them and us….

    ‘I Got Some People In Me.’  ‘I Got Some People In Me.’

    Abbey Lincoln sings the songs of me and you

    Oh yeah, She could write it for a song

    Cascading vowels that gather like kaleidoscopic images in the darkness of light

    Abbey was like the rainbow out the window amidst the fallen rain when the storm had cleared -

    A Bird Alone.

    When The World Is Falling Down – hold tight to her words

    Keep your hands wide open, let the sun shine through, you can never lose something if it belongs to you.”

    “Throw it Away! Throw It Away!”


    She IS the Nomo, the power of the spoken word

    A goddess whose muse is the magic of the secret world

    Freeing stunted spirits Who Used To Dance

    Abbey Lincoln sings the songs of me and you

    Oh yeah, She could write it for a song.

    Abbey Lincoln

  • Auld Lang Syne from Near Times Square

    December 28, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Soon you'll be hearing the WBGO Jazz 88 signal from our new transmitter, high atop a tall building in Times Square. Not long ago, WBGO broadcast live from Birdland near Times Square, ringing in 2006 with Arturo O'Farrill and the Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Michael Bourne presiding and Hilary Kole, vocalist. Listen.

    Photo by John Abbott
    Photo by John Abbott

    In 2008, Arturo and the Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra (above) won a GRAMMY for Best Latin Jazz Album for Song for Chico.

    In 2012, Arturo and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra are nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Large Ensemble Album for Forty Acres and A Mule. Announcements February 12! And BTW, Arturo's playing at Cornelia Street Cafe this New Year's Eve. What an intimate spot.

    And this Saturday night -- as every New Year's Eve -- we'll celebrate with jazz coast to coast on Toast of the Nation. Wynton Marsalis will be live at midnight from New York. Rhonda Hamilton is the anchor. And we're opening a chat room from 2-3:30am, as pianist Billy Childs plays live from Los Angeles at the very hip new Toast venue, the Blue Whale in Los Angeles. Happy New Year from WBGO and Toast of the Nation.

  • Auld Lang Syne from 12/31/06 .. Yoshi's Oakland .. Power Quartet

    December 23, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Picture 4

    Speaks For Itself .. Click To Listen

  • Auld Lang Syne in Chicago, New Year's Eve 2002

    December 21, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Picture 3

    Here's another wonderful midnight. Celebrating his album The Man in the Air, this mystery singers says he wants to see "some jazz style kissing out there!" Green Mill prop Dave Jemilo jumps onstage for the countdown. There's an instrumental break then two fine choruses of "Auld Lang Syne."

  • Auld Lang Syne 12/31/07 from San Francisco

    December 20, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    It was the swingin'est band in the land onstage at the newest venue .. Yoshi's San Francisco, first New Year's Eve. Construction still taking place up to the moment of our live broadcast.

    KCSM's Jayne Sanchez does the countdown. Bill Hughes conducts. Balloons pop. Name the band!

    Picture 2