|New York Post; New York; Apr 9, 1999; Chip Deffaa;
Copyright New York Post Corporation Apr 9, 1999
ABBEY Lincoln - who's subtly casting her spell at the Blue Note through Sunday - has a sound and style so uniquely her own that no serious jazz listener could ever mistake a line sung by her for one sung by anyone else.
Whether she's darkly droning her own curious, low-key originals or standards which she transforms into unexpectedly personal communications, there is something sage-like about her. I don't know another major jazz singer who'd risk "If I Only Had a Brain" for fear of sounding sentimental. But she seems guileless, unpretentious, appreciative; there is simple beauty in her offhand singing of that song.
Flattening the melody line of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man," repeating choruses until it takes on a hypnotic, chantlike quality, she finds a state of reverie in the number that Dylan might not have suspected lurked there. Lionel Hampton's "Midnight Sun" soothes us. And with Marc Cary's keyboard shadings complementing her well, she ruminates on life's darker side in originals. Cary's numbers preceding her entrance, incidentally, dark and drama-filled, are well worth hearing in their own right.
Blue Note, 131 W. Third St., (212) 475-8592; $30 cover, two-drink minimum; 9 and 11:30 p.m. Through Sunday.