A Tribute to Abbey Lincoln
When: Friday, May 30
Where: Healdsburg SHED, 25 North St., Healdsburg
Time: 7 and 9 pm
* Pre-concert dinners at 5:30 and 7:00 (diners get first seating – tickets here)
Jazz tends to be an extroverted type of music. Musicians create and then push the sounds out dynamically. Occasionally, though, artists show up who have the gift of letting everything come to them. One of these was singer Abbey Lincoln.
Lyrics, melodies, sidemen, styles, audiences … they were there for her. They were her perspective. As a result, her art was riveting on a gut level.
For 12 years, Ms. Lincoln employed a young pianist named Marc Cary who proved a kindred spirit. This player saw jazz as a genre not merely to be mastered but as a tool to connect things, or run through them. And as a leader he found the conviction to make it happen. Cary’s tribute will consist mostly of his solo piano, but on a few numbers he will be joined by two highly sympathetic players, David Ewell on bass and Howard Wiley on drums.
By the time Cary released “For the Love of Abbey,” his first solo album, last year, he had already made nine records essaying forms ranging from electronic music, West African, Native American and Indian classical musics, hip-hop and blazing postbop jazz. All this music is part of Cary’s continuum, and eventually it led him back to Ms. Lincoln, who passed on in 2010.
Opening night at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, Cary will be playing songs from “For the Love of Abbey,” most of which she wrote. But you can be sure they will sound substantially different than they do on the CD, just as they don’t sound on the CD the way he played them when he was in her band. Improvisation, of course, is supposed to guarantee that live jazz doesn’t repeat itself. But there’s a formality to that concept that has nothing to do with Marc’s approach. When he plays, he conjures it all on the spot, a process that banishes audience expectations, replacing them with thrills.
There is indeed much love in these songs and not only because Cary treasures his mentor. This love is about a heart open to letting things happen, and the trust that they will. There is no greater tribute that Abbey Lincoln could possibly receive, nor a more promising way to open the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. Visit marccary.com
About Healdsburg SHED: Inspired by what is in season, SHED’s changing menu features casual wood fired cuisine, Mediterranean mezze plates, and fresh, local ingredients. They offer a frequently changing list of wine, beer from small, sustainable producers producers as well as their own housemade kombuchas and shrubs. Visit healdsburgshed.com
* Pre-concert dinners seatings are at 5:30 and 7:30. Diners will get reserved seating to the concert. Reservations required. Please call (707) 431-7433 or go here to purchase your dinner tickets.