In the jazz world, a veritable deluge of solo-piano albums have been released in last year or so. One of the better ones you’re likely to hear was recently released by Marc Cary, the late Abbey Lincoln’s longtime pianist. Released on the Motéma Music imprint, For the Love of Abbey is a lovely, 14-track tribute of sorts to Cary’s mentor, who passed away three years ago. It’s Cary’s first solo-piano recording, and it goes far in honoring Lincoln’s remarkable body of work. “Abbey’s compositions are worthy of an instrumental approach because they’re so rich and lend themselves to be interpreted as instrumentals,” says Cary.
The pianist’s 12-year tenure with Lincoln was longer than any other pianist, a list that includes such luminaries as Mal Waldron, Hank Jones, Wynton Kelly and Kenny Barron. “I try not to freak myself out by saying, ‘Wow, now I’m the one,’” Cary says. “It made me feel good but it didn’t influence me in any way, because Abbey wanted something new, something in the moment.”
Cary has gained a reputation as one of the most creative pianists around, a bandleader with musical interests that encompass jazz, go-go, hip-hop, electronic music, Indian classical music and more. Asked for the single most valuable lesson he learned from Lincoln, he responds: “Learning how to shed things you don’t need, and claim what is yours.”
For more information, go to www.MarcCary.com