Thursday 13 August 2009

Abbey is blue ...

I’ve finally managed to get a copy of Iain Sinclair’s Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire out of the local library, and am very much looking forward to settling down for a good old read. One way and another totally unintentionally Sinclair seems to haunt the pages of Your Heart Out, and his notion of disappearances and being reforgotten was very much a part of the ninth issue (which, oh yus, you can download for free in the library on the left).

One of the things about disappearances that fascinates me is being able to stop what you’re doing and vanishing from that scene. For ‘collectors’ like Sinclair (and me? Yup ...) that might be hard. It’s difficult to imagine Sinclair shutting up shop. But some cease and several of the stars of our ninth issue did just that, even if it was only for a while.

Among those would be Abbey Lincoln. If you have seen the preceding post you will be aware of her astonishing performances on We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite. She would at the start of the ‘60s also appear on Percussion Bitter Suite and It’s Time, the other parts of that remarkable Roach holy trinity of records. And then there were her own essential Abbey Is Blue and Straight Ahead sets. But, after that, apart from those live appearances with Max’s outfit, she would not record for another decade or so. Intriguing.

She didn’t disappear completely. She got more involved with acting. Starred with Sidney Poitier in For The Love of Ivy. Starred in Nothing But A Man, with its Motown soundtrack. Then when Abbey did reappear in a musical context it would be in 1973 when she released the fantastic People In Me set. A few songs are available for you here as an inducement to track it down. It’s such a wonderfully inventive and uncompromising set, which avoids the full-on fusion pitfalls of the time, and includes Abbey’s adaptations of numbers by John Coltrane and Max Roach. One of her compositions, Living Room, would later be covered by YHO idol Mark Murphy.

Abbey has continued to perform and record, and to illustrate that here’s a much more recent reworking of People In Me which you sense should be compulsory viewing in every classroom around the world ...

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