Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Patty Waters, 1965

It was December 19, 1965 when singer Patty Waters entered RLA Sound Studios in NYC to record her first record. Half of the date was devoted to her intimate, smoky chanteuse, bohemian Julie London-like torchers, with just her voice and her piano; for the second half she was joined by pianist Burton Greene’s trio. Patty’s session was soon released on ESP Disk as Patty Water Sings. It has just been reissued.

Timing in at around 30 minutes, the album is just long enough to get a good picture of Ms. Waters’ two facets. The short and evocative ballads show a moody side, the arrangement of the old folk song “Black is the Color” shows the other side. It’s dark. Burton Greene plucks strings inside the piano while bass and drums play freely. Ms. Waters starts at a whisper and climaxes in an angst ridden scream on the word “black.” It’s a tremendous moment and probably still has the capacity to shock the unwary listener. There aren’t too many things left from 1965 that can still do that. This is an important slice of an improv/jazz moment in time. It’s too bad she only made one more album but very good to have this one in print. You can check it out at the ESP website. See my links column. Originally posted on February 12, 2009 at

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