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CD Review: Dear Abbey

The Music of Abbey Lincoln

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Teri Roiger, Dear Abbey: The Music of Abbey Lincoln, 2012, Inner Circle Music
  • Teri Roiger, Dear Abbey: The Music of Abbey Lincoln, 2012, Inner Circle Music

On first listen to" Wholly Earth" from Dear Abbey: The Music of Abbey Lincoln, you'll say "I don't think I have this version by Abbey!" You don't have it, because this one's by vocalist Teri Roiger. She performs songs that Ms. Lincoln lived through in many ways. With Frank Kimbrough on piano, John Menegon on bass (who did the arrangements), and Steve Williams on drums, Roiger's third CD is an effortless homage to the late singer. Abbey Lincoln sure had a way of nudging words into speaking her truth. Within her sphere, they became troublesome, mystical, comforting, and hostile. Lincoln's life, activism, and music were woven together, as Roiger expresses in "The World Is Falling Down" and "Throw It Away."

In her storytelling in "First Song" and in the up-tempo "Bird Alone" (both featuring guest saxophonist Greg Osby), Roiger's admiration for Lincoln feels and sounds genuine (this is also due in part to Roiger's similar vocal timbre). The romantic "When Love Was You and Me" will leave you softened with emotion. The release ends with the reflective "When I'm Called Home." Roiger, an Ulster County resident who teaches at SUNY New Paltz, will appear in Rosendale, New Paltz, and Kingston this month. In June, she performs at the Falcon in Marlboro for her "Celebrating Juneteenth" performance in remembrance of the end of slavery in the US and the release of Dear Abbey: The Music of Abbey Lincoln.

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