1. Toshiko Akiyoshi
  2. Geri Allen
  3. Andrews Sisters
  4. Angela Andrews
  5. Lil Harden Armstrong
  6. Dorothy Ashby
  7. Pearl Bailey
  8. Beverly Barkley
  9. Karen Briggs
  10. Ruth Brown
  11. Diane Cameron
  12. Betty Carter
  13. Joan Cartwright
  14. Kim Clarke
  15. Gloria Coleman
  16. Alice Coltrane
  17. Dorothy Donegan
  18. Ella Fitzgerald
  19. Rita Graham
  20. Jace Harnage
  21. Billie Holiday
  22. Bertha Hope
  23. Shirley Horn
  24. Lena Horne
  25. Alberta Hunter
  26. Jus' Cynthia
  27. Sandra Kaye
  28. Emme Kemp
  29. Vinnie Knight
  30. Lavelle
  31. Peggy Lee
  32. Abbey Lincoln
  33. Melba Liston
  34. Gloria Lynne
  35. Tania Maria
  36. Marian McPartland
  37. Carmen McRae
  38. Mabel Mercer
  39. M'zuri
  40. Sandy Patton
  41. Trudy Pitts
  42. Cheryl Porter
  43. Shirley Scott
  44. Nina Simone
  45. Bessie Smith
  46. Carol Sudhalter
  47. Sarah Vaughn
  48. Dinah Washington
  49. Ethel Waters
  50. Mary Lou Williams


Born in Chicago and raised in rural Michigan, Abbey Lincoln began performing while still in high school. In 1951, she moved to the West Coast, working under various names (Gaby Lee, Anna Marie, Gaby Wooldridge) before settling on Abbey Lincoln. She recorded her first album with jazz great Benny Carter in 1956 and appeared in the 1957 film, The Girl Can't Help It. Lincoln then recorded a series of albums for the Riverside label with drummer Max Roach, who had introduced her to the label's owner.

Lincoln's collaborations with Roach (to whom she was married from 1962- 70) lasted more than a decade, and included the seminal recording, Freedom Now Suite in 1960. This was the beginning of a more social and political activist approach to her music. Over the years, she has worked with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy, Coleman Hawkins, Miles Davis, Jackie McLean, Clark Terry, and Stan Getz.

In addition to her music, Lincoln also pursued acting, appearing in the films Nothing But A Man and For Love of Ivy and on television series, such as Mission: Impossible and the Flip Wilson Show. She also taught drama at the California State University. She did not record any albums as a leader from 1962-72, but made a grand return to jazz with her 1973 recording, People In Me, her first album of all original material.

Lincoln returned to her influences in 1987, recording two albums in tribute to Billie Holiday, and then a series of recordings for Verve throughout the 1990s that showcased her writing prowess. Her emotionally honest, mature style is still revered, and Lincoln continues to perform and tour with a new trio.

Abbey was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2003.

Aminata Moseka and Joan Cartwright (Montreux, Switzerland, 1992)