John Coltrane: Lonnie's Lament


Lonnie’s Lament


John Coltrane Quartet


Crescent (Impulse! IMPD-200)

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John Coltrane (tenor sax), McCoy Tyner (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), Elvin Jones (drums).

Composed by John Coltrane


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, April 27, 1964


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

      John Coltrane, artwork by Michael Symonds

One of the saddest instrumental ballads on record, “Lonnie’s Lament” was the 12-minute climax of John Coltrane’s gorgeous 1964 album Crescent. Coltrane states the theme twice, his horn full of sorrow, as the rest of his quartet paints texture behind him. After the long introduction is done, Coltrane drops out as the rhythm section gets going, and it is pianist McCoy Tyner who takes the first real solo. Tyner improvises for several minutes, patiently building his solo, taking blocks away and reassembling then. Bassist Jimmy Garrison then takes a long, unaccompanied solo. Coltrane finally returns only to close the piece by restating the theme two more times. Never before had he said so much by playing so little.

Reviewer: Steve Greenlee

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