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That's Him!

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 1, 1990
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 1, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Riverside
  • ASIN: B000000Y53
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,385 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Riverside Records knew what they were doing when they released "That's Him". They had an unknown Abbey Lincoln backed up by a true powerhouse ensemble. It's hard to imagine a more formidable collection of musicians. Sonny Rollins on sax, Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Wynton Kelly on Piano and Paul Chambers on Bass. Each is a recognized legend. Ms. Lincoln tackles several selections usually associated with Billie Holliday. A formidable task which she manages well. Rather than try to copy Ms. Holliday's inimitable style, she offers her own interpretations. I was most impressed with "Strong Man" (my wife played it for me at our wedding} and "My Man". Ms. Lincoln's now signature phrasing and emotion is especially evident on "My Man". I must admit that I prefer Ms. Lincoln's interpretation to that of Ms. Holliday. I have to give this recording 5 stars for the following reasons:
1. Her supporting musicians are unmatched (even the missed notes by Sonny Rollins on the saxophone are priceless)
2. Abbey Lincoln is in my estimation the most expressive and emotional singer I have ever had the privilege of hearing.
3. The recording provides a window through which we can listen to some of the earliest incarnations of a vocal style which has influenced a great number of current Jazz singers
4. I Love Abbey Lincoln!
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Format: Audio CD
Abbey Lincoln may have passed away, but she will clearly live on forever through her wonderful singing and creative artistry on CDs like this one. Abbey is in perfect form throughout the album; she has a tremendous command of the material and the musicians couldn't be better--as others note, Sonny Rollins plays saxophone; Kenny Dorham plays the trumpet; Wynton Kelly plays piano and Paul Chambers plays bass. Excellent! The quality of the sound is excellent and that artwork is tastefully done.

There isn't a bad number in the set here although of course I have my favorites as you will, too. "Strong Man" opens the album with Abbey singing to perfection--and beyond! Her excellent sense of timing, her sophisticated phrasing and her excellent diction enhance her singing all the more--and the music fits perfectly with her vocals. In addition, I always liked "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe;" and Abbey handles this with panache--it's very memorable indeed!

"My Man" has a wonderful arrangement although Abbey remains squarely in the spotlight--which is right where she belongs! "That's Him," the title track, again showcases Abbey Lincoln's incredible talent as she never lets go of a single superfluous note. "I Must Have That Man" is very well done; and it's interesting to compare this to the alternate take that we also get here.

"Porgy" and its alternate take get the royal treatment from Abbey Lincoln; "Porgy" is certainly a highlight of this CD. "When a Woman Loves a Man" also has a very special, sophisticated arrangement that shines bright; and the album concludes with Abbey Lincoln and the musicians performing "Don't Explain." "Don't Explain" is brilliant and it leaves me wanting more!
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Format: Audio CD
Abby Lincoln's voice is as unique as it is expressive. Over the years she has made recordings with some of the best musicians in the business. This record is outstanding. I had the privilege of hearing Abby Lincoln live in New Haven at the Festival of Arts and Ideas several years back, and her creative ideas and ability to interpret a melody haven't diminished over the years.

This record features Sonny Rollins, Kenny Dorham, Wynton Kelly, and Paul Chambers. This is an outstanding line-up.

The first tune is one one of my favorites. It is entitled "Strong Man." It is refreshing in this day an age to hear someone sing "I am in love with a strong man." Today most men are portrayed in music as stupid, weak, or womanizing and sexist. This is a refreshing reminder of what real men are called to be.

The whole record is beautiful and beautifully recorded. "Porgy" is a real gem as well.

Sonny Rollins is brilliant on this record. His solos are sparse and he is a supporting role, but he fulfills it very competently.

Great record.
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Format: Audio CD
The recent passing of Abbey Lincoln led me to reviewing the bulk of her discography, downloading tracks from 10-12 albums. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that the narrative that has been most widely published about her characterizes her as a "puppet" of producers eager to exploit her physical beauty, resulting in the image of a lightweight "supper club" singer, a sex kitten, etc. who then, courageously if not miraculously, began to "transform" herself into an "original" after meeting Roach and recording "Straight Ahead" and "The Freedom Now Suite." But it's primarily her work beginning in the mid to late '80s, recordings focusing exclusively on her own songs and poetry, that won for her a fairly enthusiastic, feminist-leaning fan base.

To a less politically minded listener, and one who appreciates the purely musical values of the jewels of the American Songbook, the foregoing narrative doesn't play out that neatly. She's in good, if not better, voice on this early recording (her 2nd) than on most that were to follow (though the 2 aforementioned albums with Roach can be recommended for the contributions of Coleman Hawkins just as the later "You Gotta Pay the Band" has the added appeal of Stan Getz). But "That's Him" has an all-star line up itself (Roach, Dorham, Rollins, Chambers, Wynton Kelley). The tune "Strong Man" was written by Oscar Brown Jr. to counter some of the other tunes like "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe," torch ballads with a masochistic text-- the familiar theme of a woman unable to stop loving a no good, unfaithful jerk (or even worse when considering another of the tracks, "My Man," with its references to brutality, promiscuity, misogyny).
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