Reflections On A Dozen Years With Abbey Lincoln

Marc Cary came to New York City to find and save his father. Instead, he found artists like Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln — and saved himself.

“I hadn’t seen my dad in 10 years,” Cary says over a recent lunch in downtown Manhattan. “He’s a percussionist, but he was living another lifestyle, and I came to rescue him. He was living at the Port Authority Bus Station.”

Cary was 21; he arrived with only $20 in his pocket. But he was also a talented jazz pianist. On the recommendation of a friend, he soon connected with the late Art Taylor, a venerated jazz drummer. Taylor was assembling a new incarnation of the Wailers, his own seminal jazz group.

“I called him that night, and he told me to come over immediately,” Cary says. At the time, Taylor lived a block away in Harlem. When Cary arrived, Abbey Lincoln was there; she lived next door. “[Lincoln] checked me out, gave me a lot of encouragement and told me that one day we’ll play together.” Continue reading