[JPL] Good Thoughts for Abbey and Hank

Steve Schwartz steve_schwartz at wgbh.org
Fri Mar 23 09:14:08 EDT 2007

This appeared in the NY Daily News on Monday. Play their CD NOW!!!
Steve Schwartz

Finding harmony together

The unexpected reunion of two New York jazz legends


Posted Monday, March 19th 2007, 12:26 AM
Hank Jones and Abbey Lincoln Moseka

The jazz pianist and jazz singer sat side by side, talking softly and
exchanging memories. It had been 10 years since they last saw each other,
and 15 since they recorded a full-length album together. Occasionally, the
singer would break into song, and the pianist would pick up the tune and
sing along.

But there was no piano present, nor a recording studio. The only background
music was the beeping of a heart monitor machine, and air moving through an
artificial respirator down the hall. Their managers and producers were
nowhere to be seen - only doctors and nurses, who from afar kept an eye on
the pair and the reporter sitting beside them.

It was an unlikely reunion in the most unlikely of places for Hank Jones and
Abbey Lincoln Moseka, two jazz legends whose paths crossed again last
Tuesday at St. Luke's Hospital.

Jones, 88, has been playing the piano for over 60 years. He recorded with
Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald, among others, and played for "The Ed
Sullivan Show" for many years.

The 77-year-old Lincoln Moseka grew up in Chicago as Anna Marie Wooldridge
(a former manager gave her the stage name Abbey Lincoln). She came to New
York in her 20s and sang at the Village Vanguard, later marrying jazz and
bebop composer Max Roach (they divorced in the 1960s) and starring in
several films.

Producer Jean-Philippe Allard jump-started Lincoln Moseka's career in the
early 1990s, culminating with the 1992 album "When There Is Love" - recorded
with none other than jazz pianist Hank Jones over three or four days. The
duo have also performed on tracks for other albums.

Jones came to New York City in February after a few months in Japan, where
he performed "a few concerts in Kobe" and spent time relaxing. Two weeks
after arriving here, the problems began.

"It felt like indigestion," he recalled last Tuesday, seated in Lincoln
Moseka's hospital room at St. Luke's, wrapped in a thick bathrobe. "I didn't
feel any pain."

In reality, Jones had suffered a massive heart attack. St. Luke's
cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Sandhya Balaram performed bypass surgery on Jones
on Feb. 28, and he's recovering well.

"He said the only thing wrong with his room was there was no piano," said

Lincoln Moseka was rushed to St. Luke's on March 3, not breathing and
suffering heart failure and pulmonary edema (during which the lungs fill
with fluid). St. Luke's cardiothoracic surgery chief, Dr. Daniel Swistel
performed aortic valve replacement and bypass surgery and Lincoln Moseka has
been in the ICU since.

"Her recuperation will be a bit slower. She's got more to recover," said

Jones and Lincoln Moseka had no idea they were in the same hospital at the
same time, but while Googling their respective album histories, Balaram and
Swistel realized their patients' connection and arranged for the reunion.

Jones is expected to be at St. Luke's a couple more weeks, continuing
physical therapy after being discharged. Lincoln Moseka's recovery is more
unsure; she may still be in the hospital when her new album, "Abbey Sings
Abbey," is released later this year.

Regardless, within minutes of seeing each other again, Jones, Lincoln Moseka
and their healing hearts seemed to relax.

"Old friends should never get separated. A lot of years have gone by," said
Jones, adding to Lincoln Moseka, "We should record together!"

"He always makes me feel special,"said Lincoln Moseka, visibly weak but
smiling nonetheless. "It's wonderful to see him."


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