The recording of “Throw It Away”, written by actress, activist, singer Abbey Lincoln sounds extremely dark and dramatic at first listen but that actually belies the hopeful, positive sentiment of the song. For some reason, when I hear it, I picture her strolling down the banks of the Seine, in a light rain. It just has that feel of something (I imagine) you’d hear while sitting in a Paris cafe.
Polish Jazz vocalist Aga Zaryan gives a truly wonderful tribute to Abbey on this number. Her voice is very fresh and lively and her particular arrangement is lighter than the original yet it still fits the song quite well. She’s actually released an album “Remembering Nina and Abbey”, in tribute to her influences Abbey and Nina Simone.
The live radio performance by the talented Esperanza Spalding is beautiful. Nothing fancy is needed here. It’s very pure and hypnotic.
Next I have, in a solo turn, pianist Marc Cary, who actually performed with Ms. Lincoln for over a decade. He, like Aga, has released a tribute album “For the Love of Abbey”. The man is a terrific musician: very soulful and passionate with a wonderful connection to his instrument.
I found a version by Cassandra Wilson. I know ya’ll are probably sick of seeing her show up in the cover battles but I’m giving it to you anyway. She has a similar style to Abbey, but this time her voice is not as low and slow as Abbey, or even as deep and mellow as she is on other tunes. She has more of a smooth, rich honeyed tone this time.
I enjoyed the way Aaron Pfeiffer does this song, on stage. He really gets into it and does it his own way. I like that. And the bass on this is nice, as well.