Singer Patty Waters is credited with being an innovator, preceding more notable avant-vocalists, Yoko Ono and Patti Smith who cited her as influences. This 2009 release is a digital replica of the original 1965 album. Word has it that Waters was introduced to then, ESP owner Bernard Stollman by legendary free-jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler. The album presents a time warp of sorts and although it only clocks in at twenty-eight minutes, we get to hear Waters sing about forlorn love, where she uses the piano as a second voice.
It's a captivating program that seems quite advanced for its time, especially from a jazz-vocals perspective. Her deeply personalized lyricism, enamored by a burly tone, and augmented by her sensual delivery, seems appropriate for a late night recital at a nearly empty jazz joint. She bears her soul along with her animated and economical piano phrasings that wrap into a delicately enacted call and response mechanism. And she uses space as a means of enabling the listener to absorb her rather melancholic sentiment. It's all quietly penetrating.
The major highlight of the album is the thirteen-minute, and now legendary spin on the traditional folk song "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair," featuring modern jazz pianist Burton Greene also performing on piano harp. Here, Waters projects an ethereal and somewhat haunting framework via her wordless chants, and free-form howls amid shrieks that perhaps mimic that era's burgeoning free-jazz saxophonists. She navigates through different octaves and eventually roughs it up with Greene, as the rhythm section makes its entry about midway through the piece.
Waters took a thirty-year hiatus to raise her son and reentered the music scene in the late '90s. Nonetheless, this reissue provides a somewhat mesmeric portrait of an artist who helped lay some radical groundwork for others. A curiously interesting endeavor that sounds just as nouveau forty-five years afterwards.