Abbey Lincoln on "the original instrument"

Now, A Jazz Moment...

MUSIC: "First Song," CD: The World is Falling Down, Verve 843476-2, (cut 2)

NEA Jazz Master Abbey Lincoln didn't perform as a singer until high school. She didn't actually aspire to perform professionally until she was discovered singing with a band in her early twenties.

Abbey Lincoln: It's the original instrument. And it is the spoken word; the singer is the one who tells the story. That's why she can stand out in front of the musicians who have had years of experience and study and technique and, she can take the show because she has words.

The multitalented Lincoln has enjoyed tremendous success as a poet, painter, actress, singer, and songwriter. She wrote this song to celebrate the syle of legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Monk .

Music: "I Could Sing It For a Song," CD: Over the Years , Verve 549101, (cut 5)

Abbey Lincoln's "I Could Sing It For A Song." This Jazz Moment was created by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Abbey Lincoln on "the original instrument"