Abbey Lincoln, an acclaimed jazz singer, songwriter and actress who evolved from a supper-club singer into a strong voice for civil rights, has died. She was 80.[..]
Lincoln built a career as an actress and singer in the late 1950s through the turbulent 1960s, then stepped away during the 1970s and, years later, returned to prominence as a singer praised for her songwriting abilities.
"There was a passion to what she did," said jazz critic Don Heckman, who noted that Lincoln's songwriting made her a rarity among jazz singers. "She was not someone who was just singing a song. She had an agenda, and a lot of it had to do with civil rights.... She expressed herself in dramatic and impressive fashion in what she said and how she sang."[..]
She was often compared with Billie Holiday, one of her early influences. Times jazz writer Leonard Feather, writing after a Lincoln performance in 1986, said he could see glimpses of Holiday. "Not so much vocally as visually — a slight toss of the head, a jutting of the jaw," he wrote. "As Lincoln said, 'We all stand on the shoulders of those who preceded us.' "