Lonely Woman (composition)

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For other uses, see Lonely Woman.
"Lonely Woman"
Music by Ornette Coleman
Lyrics by Margo Guryan
Published 1959
Written 1959
Original artist Ornette Coleman and Jim Gardner
Recorded by Chris Connor, Modern Jazz Quartet, Freda Payne, Carola Standertskjöld, Lester Bowie, Old and New Dreams, Jaki Byard, Charlie Haden, John Zorn, Joshua Redman

"Lonely Woman" is a jazz composition by Ornette Coleman and Jim Gardner. Coleman's recording of it was the opening track on his 1959 Atlantic Records album The Shape of Jazz to Come. Alongside Coleman's alto saxophone, the recording featured Don Cherry on cornet, Charlie Haden on double bass and Billy Higgins on drums.


In an interview with Jacques Derrida, Coleman spoke of the origin of the composition:

"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.'"[1]

Other versions[edit]

Haden and Cherry revisited the song on Old and New Dreams (ECM, 1979), Haden doing so again on Etudes (1987) and In Angel City (1988).

The Modern Jazz Quartet released a version of the song on their 1964 album Lonely Woman. This was one of the earliest recorded covers of a Coleman number.[2]

Vocal versions, with lyrics written by Margo Guryan, have been recorded by Chris Connor (1962), Freda Payne (1964, on After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!!!) and Carola Standertskjöld (1966).

Other versions have been recorded by:


  1. ^ . Derrida Interviews Coleman accessed October 4, 2014
  2. ^ Cook, S. Allmusic Review accessed June 6, 2012