When Abbey Lincoln sings, people listen, especially aspiring—as well as established—female vocalists.

When Abbey Lincoln sings, people listen, especially aspiring—as well as established—female vocalists. On "It's Me," her 10th album for Verve—and first recording with an orchestra—she vocalizes with authority; her husky, dark-tinged voice is drenched in melancholy, buoyant with joy and steeped in wisdom. A superb songwriter, Lincoln wrote or co-wrote six of the 11 tracks. Bookending the collection are two gems: her gorgeous rendition of the Hoagy Carmichael/ Johnny Mercer classic "Skylark" and her playful ditty "Can You Dig It." She soulfully pays homage to the music that has been her life calling on "They Call It Jazz," zips through the jaunty "Runnin' Wild" (featuring a scintillating piano run by Kenny Barron, who girds the rhythm section throughout) and venerates Duke Ellington with a heartfelt reading of Cedar Walton's "The Maestro."—DO