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In an ideal world, jazz diva Abbey Lincoln’s world-weary ballads would be all over quiet-storm radio, not just down at the left end of the dial. But after a brief period of being marketed as a sultry vamp known for the Marilyn Monroe get-up she wore in the 1956 film The Girl Can’t Help It, Lincoln burned her dress; while she kept her stage name, she has taken the high road ever since. Still heralded for confronting racism in the ’60s with Max Roach on the Freedom Now Suite and remembered as an actress in Nothing but a Man and For Love of Ivy, Lincoln has spent recent years working with young and old jazz cats alike, fine-tuning the mournful phrasing she admits owes a debt to Billie Holiday. Tonight through Sunday at 8 & 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Rear Wisconsin Ave. NW. $26.25-29. For reservations, call (202) 337-4141. (Steve Kiviat)