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Wednesday, February 24, 1999

Review - Wholly Earth

Artist: Abbey Lincoln

Posted on Wed, Feb 24, 1999 at 4:00 AM

Wholly Earth
Label: Verve
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Wholly Earth

Abbey Lincoln creates a living link between Billie Holiday and Cassandra Wilson. Still an irrepressible life force at 68, on "Wholly Earth" she touches on the smoky melancholy of the former as well as the folksy directness of the latter.

The title track, with its sing-song melody driven by percussionist Daniel Moreno, has Lincoln shifting into screams and sliding into whoops. She considers leaving terra firma on "Look to the Star," abetted by Bobby Hutcherson's gently undulating vibraphone and trumpeter Nicholas Payton's luxuriant tones. Then she seems to follow that impulse on the spacey "Another World," on which her free-flying voice playfully mimics the theme from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

There are lovely interpretations here, too, including a bluesy "If I Only Had a Brain" (from "The Wizard of Oz") and memorable renditions of "Midnight Sun" and "Another Time, Another Place."

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