"Lonely Woman" by Ornette Coleman from the album The Shape of Jazz to Come

Perhaps my favorite jazz song to sit and occupy at the moment because the tension between Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins' unsteady rhythm and Coleman and Don Cherry's near-dissonant mournfulness creates an unnameable uncertain emotional instability that only living inside of this song provides. In doing some cursory research for this write-up, I came across this bit about the song from an interview Coleman did with Jacques Derrida.

  • Before becoming known as a musician, when I worked in a big department store, one day, during my lunch break, I came across a gallery where someone had painted a very rich white woman who had absolutely everything that you could desire in life, and she had the most solitary expression in the world. I had never been confronted with such solitude, and when I got back home, I wrote a piece that I called "Lonely Woman."

UPDATE: Holy shit, Margo Guryan wrote lyrics to "Lonely Woman" and it's amazing! And here's another performance.

Featured on Is Everybody Okay?

Appears in

  • Song of the day
  • The Shape of Jazz to Come