Abbey Lincoln used to call her songs "little ditties." That's what her pianist James Weidman told us when we played a WBGO recording of her from The Peppermint, a jazz club in New Jersey, on JazzSet. It comes from the 1980s, and Abbey was introducing her album Talking to the Sun. This is the cover photo.
Those little ditties contain amazing images. It's as though we can be with Abbey Lincoln all over again as Cassandra Wilson sings "Talking to the Sun," Dee Dee Bridgewater chooses "Another World" (singing it made her cry), and Dianne Reeves soars on"Bird Alone." All three whistle and trill on "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." It may be my favorite moment of this Tribute to Abbey Lincoln from the Kennedy Center. Hear it Sunday, June 17, at 6pm .. Wednesday, June 20, at 6:30 .. or any time at wbgo.org/jazzset.
Rhonda Hamilton writes: The Detroit Jazz Festival got off to a spectacular start Thursday evening with fireworks in the sky and on the stage, as the voices of Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo and Lizz Wright rang out into the night and captivated the opening night crowd.
With near record breaking heat and high humidity in the Motor City over the last few days, the word perspiration doesn’t fit the bill. We have all been sweating but within the first few seconds of Sing The Truth!, I literally felt chills. These three incredibly gifted artists, each with her own distinctive style, put on a show that energized the audience and made us glad to be alive.
Dianne Reeves sings with the clarity, confidence and passion of an artist who has earned diva status. In complete command of her instrument, she knows how to weave a spell, create drama and take the music higher.
Angelique Kidjo carries the spirit of Mother Africa within her soul. Her voice, her dance, her exuberance have the power to make you scream.
Lizz Wright embodies youth and beauty and grace. Despite her young years she has the heart of a woman and the wisdom to match. With a voice like warm honey she digs deep and brings up a well of emotion with each performance.
During their months on tour, Dianne, Angelique and Lizz have developed a strong bond, clearly inspiring and learning from each other. They share the love and they “Sing The Truth.” Don’t miss our broadcast Labor Day Monday at noon.
UPDATE: Read the review from The Washington Post here. Critic Mike Joyce tells you about THE BAND! And there's a good photo. BP
On Friday night at the Mary Lou Williams Festival in Washington, DC, four daughters of Abbey Lincoln (1930-2010) opened her songbook together, for the first time.
This was a dynamic concert, and generous too. More than five hundred people in the Terrace Theater concentrated on the artists onstage concentrating on words and music that came from Abbey Lincoln's own concentration. We felt the loss of her, and newly appreciated the gift she left us.
"It's what it is in that moment." That's singer Dianne Reeves' definition of jazz.
Dianne Reeves is on her way home to Colorado today. She has just finished the final touches of her new recording, When You Know.
It comes out April 15th - so pick up a copy when you drop off your taxes.
Dianne has won multiple Grammys - for her live recording, In the Moment. For her tribute to Newark's own Sarah Vaughan, The Calling (Dianne's favorite). For her soundtrack to the film Goodnight and Good Luck. And when it comes to matters of love, there are few singers in jazz with the emotional depth of Dianne Reeves. So it is not surprising that the new record is a cycle of love songs. When You Know ends with the title track, a song about Dianne's spiritual connection. It also includes jazz versions of The Temptations' "Just My Imagination" and Minnie Ripperton's "Loving You," innocent love songs that Dianne remembers as a child.
Can't wait until the record comes out? You're in luck. Dianne and her band (pianist Geoff Keezer, guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Reginald Veal, and drummer Greg Hutchinson) will debut the music live in concert - when else? - Valentine's Night at The Apollo.
- Josh Jackson