Anna Marie Wooldridge (August 6, 1930 – August 14, 2010), known by her stage name Abbey Lincoln, was an American jazz vocalist, songwriter, and actress, who wrote and performed her own compositions.
Lincoln was one of many singers influenced by Billie Holiday. She often visited the Blue Note jazz club in New York City. Her debut album, Abbey Lincoln’s Affair – A Story of a Girl in Love, was followed by a series of albums for Riverside Records. In 1960 she sang on Max Roach's landmark civil rights-themed recording, We Insist!. Lincoln’s lyrics were often connected to thecivil rights movement in America.
During the 1980s, Lincoln’s creative output was smaller and she released only a few albums during that decade. Her song "For All We Know" is featured in the 1989 film "Drugstore Cowboy." During the 1990s and until her death, however, she fulfilled a 10-album contract with Verve Records. These albums are highly regarded and represent a crowning achievement in Lincoln’s career. Devil’s Got Your Tongue (1992) featured Rodney Kendrick, Grady Tate, J. J. Johnson, Stanley Turrentine, Babatunde Olatunji and The Staple Singers, among others.
With Ivan Dixon, she co-starred in Nothing But a Man, an independent film written and directed by Michael Roemer. In 1968 she also co-starred with Sidney Poitier and Beau Bridges in For Love of Ivy, and received a 1969 Golden Globe nomination for her appearance in the film.
Lincoln also appeared in 1956 in The Girl Can’t Help It, for which she wore a dress which had been worn by Marilyn Monroe in Gentleman Prefer Blondes, and interpreted the theme song, working with Benny Carter.
Lincoln was married to drummer Max Roach from 1962 to 1970. Roach’s daughter from a previous marriage, Maxine, has appeared on several of Lincoln’s albums. She was mentioned in Maya Angelou's autobiography The Heart of a Woman as a close friend.
Lincoln died on August 14, 2010 in Manhattan at the age of 80. Her death was announced by her brother, David Wooldridge, who told the New York Times that Lincoln had died in her Manhattan nursing home after suffering deteriorating health for years following open heart surgery in 2007. No cause of death was officially given. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered.
- 1956: Abbey Lincoln's Affair (Liberty) with arrangements by Benny Carter and Marty Paich
- 1957: That's Him! (Riverside)
- 1958: It’s Magic (Riverside)
- 1959: Abbey Is Blue (Riverside)
- 1961: Straight Ahead (Candid)
- 1973: People in Me (Inner City, 1978, CD-re-release on Verve 1993) with Dave Liebman, Al Foster a.o.
- 1980: Painted Lady (Recorded live in Paris, Marge (F), US-release on Inner City as Golden Lady) featuring Archie Shepp
- 1983: Talking to the Sun (Enja) with Steve Coleman, James Weidman (piano), Mark Johnson (drums), Jerry Gonzalez (perc) a.o.
- 1987: Abbey Sings Billie, Vol. 1 & 2 (Enja) with Harold Vick (tenor), J. Weidman, Tarik Shah (bass), M. Johnson
- 1990: The World Is Falling Down (Polydor (F)/Verve) with Jackie McLean, Clark Terry a.o.
- 1991: You Gotta Pay the Band (Gitanes/Verve) with Stan Getz, Hank Jones, Charlie Haden, Marc Johnson, Maxine Roach
- 1992: Devil’s Got Your Tongue (Gitanes/Verve) with Rodney Kendrick a.o.
- 1992: When There Is Love (Gitanes/Verve), Duo album with Hank Jones
- 1993: The Music Is the Magic (Recorded live at Sweet Basil; ITM) with Rodney Kendrick, Michael Bowie, Yoron Israel
- 1994: A Turtle’s Dream (Gitanes/Verve) with Victor Lewis, Roy Hargrove, Pat Metheny a.o.
- 1996: Who Used to Dance (Gitanes/Verve) with Marc Cary, Graham Haynes, Steve Coleman, Oliver Lake a.o.
- 1998: Wholly Earth (Polydor/Verve) with Bobby Hutcherson, Nicholas Payton a.o.
- 2000: Over the Years (Gitanes/Verve) with Joe Lovano a.o.
- 2002: It’s Me (Verve) with Kenny Barron, Julien Lourau, James Spaulding a.o.
- 2007: Abbey Sings Abbey (Verve) with Larry Campbell, Gil Goldstein a.o.
With Max Roach