John Coltrane: Nancy (With the Laughing Face)


Nancy (With the Laughing Face)


John Coltrane (tenor sax)


Ballads (Impulse GR-156)

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

Recorded: New York, September 18, 1962


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

On an album of beautiful balladry, the closer, “Nancy (With the Laughing Face),” is the crème de la crème. It’s only three minutes long, and Coltrane solos through all of it. By no means is this a wild solo. Anyone could play these notes, but it’s hard to imagine them being played with as much feeling as Coltrane infuses. He’ll bend a note downward when you think the passage is over (listen to what he does at the 49-second mark), or he’ll add a few upturned notes onto a phrase (listen again at 1:03). He’ll rush ahead of the beat and then wait as it passes by and he falls behind. You hear the emotions he feels, and it sounds so perfect.

Reviewer: Steve Greenlee

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