Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Teri Roiger: Dear Abbey: The Music of Abbey Lincoln

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Newcomers to vocalist Teri Roiger might, quite fairly, presume she is attempting to mimic Abbey Lincoln across this tribute album’s 13 tracks. But the vocal resemblance is no put-on: Roiger’s phrasing-which, in turn, demonstrates how big a debt Lincoln’s phrasing owed to Billie Holiday-and her engagingly raspy, crushed-velvet sound are genuinely similar.

Lincoln was always the straightest of shooters: no teasing, no modesty, no evasiveness. Like Nina Simone, she tackled songs, particularly her own, with unflinching honesty and hard-won wisdom. Roiger evinces the same gut-level sincerity, though she tends to do so with a cunning coyness. It’s as if Lincoln is being filtered through Peggy Lee and, for the most part, it works refreshingly well. The dreaminess she lends to “When I’m Called Home,” for instance, is powerfully moving, as is the sagacious warmth of her “You Gotta Pay the Band.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published