Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ran Blake and Christine Correa, Down Here Below, Tribute to Abbey Lincoln Volume One

Vocalist-composer Abbey Lincoln was a giant among redwoods, a vocalist of outstanding original stature and a person whose ethics and politics drove her music to places that impacted dramatically all who heard it.

Christine Correa is a marvelous instrument in her own right. She has Abbey's sense of drama and space. Ran Blake is that tabula rasa pianist-conceptualist who has through the years made his art ever more devastatingly economic--complexly, deceptively simple.

Down Hear Below (Red Piano RPR 14599-4411-2) constitutes the first installment of Blake and Correa's tribute to Ms. Lincoln and it's a fine one.

This is not, of course, some light jazz vocalizing to put on at a cocktail party as background. It's serious, uncompromising vocal-piano art of the highest sort.

The repertoire covers music associated with Abbey's career and perhaps (I have, alas, not had the chance to listen to everything Ms. Lincoln recorded over the years) some standards done with the emphatic, articulate, horn-like insistency that was Abbey at her best.

It's a beautiful collaboration. It is high-art. It is a fitting tribute. It is not for the faint of heart (but I expect the faint of heart do not tend to read this column). It is recommended...highly.

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