Abbey Lincoln (1930-2010) died last Saturday in New York City at the age of 80. She was and is a legendary jazz vocalist, songwriter and actress. She was particularly influenced in her singing by Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Dinah Washington.
(Exactly Like You)
Abbey Lincoln worked in different parts of the country until she recorded her first album in 1956, then moved to New York City and worked at the Village Vanguard. While singing at the Vanguard, Abbey Lincoln met Max Roach who was a jazz drummer and composer. The two later married.
Lincoln and Roach worked together on various projects during the 1950s and 1960s, including the album "We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Suite," which was released in 1960, at the height of the civil rights struggle.
Lincoln, Roach, and other well-known jazz musicians took up the cause of civil rights in the U.S. at a time of both heroic struggle by mass movements, and increasing violence by the racist right-wing. These jazz musicians performed at benefits and fundraisers for groups such as the NAACP, CORE, and other civil rights organizations and used their influence in speaking out in support of the demand for equal rights for black citizens.
"When everything is finished in a world, the people go to look for what the artists leave. It is the only thing that we have really in this world -- is an ability to express ourselves and say 'I was here.'" Abbey Lincoln.
Lincoln also was an actress, and got roles in such movies as "Nothing But A Man," and "For Love Of Ivy."
For more, see: http://www.npr.org/programs/jazzprofiles/archive/lincoln.html