“For The Love Of ABBEY” was what the title of the program read for the late great Abbey Lincoln’s memorial that was held October 1, 2010 at The Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City. It was a packed house that was filled with jazz greats, celebrities, VIP’s and jazz lovers, all who loved Abbey Lincoln. It was very moving and emotional. I was moved to tears and to joy all throughout the service. Ms Lincoln is one of my favorite artists and has inspired me as a singer and musician throughout the years of my professional music career. Reverend Calvin Butts III officiated the service which included a series of Reflections and Musical Tributes by Jean Phillipe-Allard, David Wooldridge-her brother; and Wendy Oxenhorn, Maggie Brown, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cecil Taylor, Randy Weston, Avery Brooks and others. Abbey’s Band played musical tributes to Abbey from her songbook. Her band members are Marc Cary, Jaz Sawyer, Michael Bowie and Rodney Kendrick. THEY ARE AWESOME!
There were films tribute clips done by Carol Friedman and Gabriella Morandi, Francesco Pini and Robert W. Richards.
I learned so much more about Abbey during the service. Her trials and tribulations, her struggle to be just Abbey, and not what others wanted her to be. She was a true individual and wanted the world to hear her voice and what the Creator instilled in her to be. She asked lots of questions about life, love, our people, our history and our purpose here on this earth. She was in a continual conversation with GOD in all of her songs. She had those sad tones of a Billie Holiday. She in fact did a whole CD of Billie’s songs. She was a poetic genius. Abbey was also a mentor of young singers. She was very active with the Jazz Foundation of America, who loved and took care of her when she was in the nursing home the last years and days of her life. Jill Newman was there for Abbey for many years. She spoke of her experiences with Abbey and it brought everyone to tears and was very insightful.
“Special thanks to Jill Newman for her profound love and devotion to Abbey all of these years, and for creating this evenings Program. ‘For The Love Of Abbey’, with such dedication to what Abbey had wanted. To the Jazz Foundation of America and their staff for their continued assistance, love and support of Abbey these past few years. To the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the amazing Reverend Calvin Butts III and Naomi Graham for giving Abbey this beautiful send off. Special thanks to Carol Friedman for her love and devotion to Abbey and the documentary film she’s made her life’s work for the past 20 years, as well as for designing this beautiful booklet with the help of Gina Robertson. Utmost appreciation to the staff at Amsterdam Nursing Home. And last but not least, to all who loved Abbey and to all whom Abbey loved.
Abbey Lincoln is survived by her brother David Wooldridge and his wife Juana, her brother Kenneth Wooldridge and her sister Juanita Baker as well as a number of nieces and nephews.
“When I’m Called Home, I Will Bring A Book That Tell Of Strange And Funny Turns And Of The Heart It Took”……. Abbey Lincoln
“There Will Always Be…..A Stage, A Song For Me, Hold The Curtain Open….It’s Time To Take A Bow”…….. Abbey Lincoln
“There’s a hand to rock the cradle and a hand to help us stand, With a gentle kind of motion, As it moves across the land
And the hand’s unclenched and open, Gifts of life and love it brings, So keep your hand wide open, If you’re needing anything.
Throw it away, Throw it away, Give your love, live your life, Each and every day.
And keep your hand wide open, Let the sun shine through, ‘Cause you can never lose a thing, If it belongs to you.
August 6, 1930- August 14, 2010
LIVE ON ABBEY!!!! MAY ALL OF THE QUESTIONS YOU ASKED OF GOD NOW BE ANSWERED!!! TAKE WINGS AND FLY!!!
PEACE AND LOVE-