i really didn't know too much about Abbey Lincoln, but after going to shows and hearing just about every female jazz singer announce "this is an Abbey Lincoln tune" before launching into an amazing song, i figured i should look her up. turns out she's not only a great singer (Ella-esque, even if Billie was her muse), but she also wrote and arranged her own tunes. on Straight Ahead she's backed by a great band that features Booker Little, Eric Dolphy, Coleman Hawkins, and future husband Max Roach. tough to pick a favorite track, but When Malindy SIngs stands out for its intense vocal performance and Left Alone features some of the sexiest sax playing i've heard in awhile. this is as good a place to start as any if you're interested in plowing thru her back catalog.
oh, it's sweeter than the music of an educated man