Recorded mostly in New York, Over the Years is aimed at summing up Abbey Lincoln's long career. Joining her are excellent, but not so well-known performers, plus the giant sax player Joe Lovano. But it is Lincoln's special interpretative powers that carry the day, as one would expect. The play list is rather unusual even for an iconoclast like Lincoln. There are tunes from the 1940s, traditional material, some romantic standards, and her own compositions. "Lucky to Be Me," from the musical On the Town, features some ear-catching work by the rhythm section of Brandon McCune, John Ormond, and Jaz Sawyer. Another fine track is the traditional "Blackberry Blossoms" to which Lincoln has added her own lyrics. She is ably supported on this cut by guest tenor player Joe Lovano and guest guitarist Kendra Shank, who is also a singer of note. The album's coda is appropriate as Lincoln sings "Tender As a Rose" a cappella, letting her vocal chords stand on their own without benefit of instrumental accompaniment as she ends it with "as that's the way the story goes."
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan