Abbey Is Blue, the landmark 1959 album from the legendary jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln, returns to 180g vinyl LP in a newly remastered edition with single Tip-On jacket packaging courtesy of Craft Recordings. Originally released as Lincoln's fourth and final recording with Riverside Records, Abbey is Blue took a stark turn from her earlier releases, which typically consisted of standards from the Great American Songbook.
As the title suggests, Abbey Is Blue finds the singer solemn and reflective. Her vocal talents, meanwhile, are on display, as Lincoln soulfully embodies the lyrical content of her songs. Lincoln handpicked each of the songs on the album, including the Kurt Weill/Langston Hughes-penned "Lonely House," from the 1946 opera Street Scene, the cutting theme to the 1928 silent film Laugh, Clown, Laugh, and Mongo Santamaría's jazz standard, "Afro Blue," featuring lyrics by Oscar Brown. Lincoln, a talented songwriter in her own right, also included one of her original compositions, "Let Up."
The songs on Abbey Is Blue lamented the injustices that were happening across the country – particularly towards Black Americans. Just one year later, Lincoln, who was a passionate civil rights activist, offered an even bolder statement alongside her husband, Max Roach, on the incendiary We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite. Roach also appears on Abbey Is Blue, along with such talented players as Kenny Dorham, Stanley Turrentine, Philly Joe Jones, Wynton Kelly, and Sam Jones.
In his original liner notes for Abbey Is Blue, Riverside co-founder Orrin Keepnews (who co-produced the album) proclaimed, "It is certainly the best singing by far that Abbey has done on record, and I think now – as I did much of the time while it was being recorded – that it stands up as among the most effective and moving albums that any singer has created in a long time."
• 180g vinyl LP reissue from Craft Recordings
• Featuring Max Roach, Kenny Dorham, Stanley Turrentine, Philly Joe Jones, Wynton Kelly and Sam Jones
• All-analog mastering from the original tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio
• Pressed at RTI
• Single Tip-On jacket packaging