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Dear Abbey: Marc Cary Pays Tribute to a Legendary Singer

Abbey Lincoln celebrated on keyboardist's newest release

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Marc Cary
Marc Cary

The last time keyboardist Marc Cary saw the legendary singer Abbey Lincoln was about two weeks before she passed in August of 2010. Toward the end of her life, while living in a hospice, Lincoln reportedly didn’t want visits from musicians, so Cary didn’t see her for about year before then. Battling Alzheimer’s, the 80-year-old Lincoln was surrounded by people when Cary came to see her, but as he remembers, “She didn’t know who anyone was.”

But a flash of cognizance struck her when Cary walked into the room. “She said, ‘Marc! We got a gig tonight!’ I almost cried,” Cary, 46, said in December, a half hour before a gig with his Focus Trio at Bohemian Caverns in his hometown of Washington, D.C. “She looked at me, then she looked around and said, ‘Marc, I’m not home, am I?’ From that moment on, she was as clear as she had ever been.”

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