“Patty Waters Sings” is the debut album by Patty Waters, an American jazz vocalist who is known for her avant-garde vocal jazz recordings in the 1960s for the ESP-Disk label.
Waters was born in Iowa in 1946. In the early 1960s, Albert Ayler heard her voices in a club in New York and introduced her to Bernard Stollman, the owner of the experimental jazz label ESP-Disk. She recorded her two albums, “Patty Waters Sings” (1965) and “College Tour” (1966) on ESP-Disk.
Though Waters made only a few recordings, her performances had a huge influence on Yoko Ono and Diamanda Galás.
“Patty Waters Sings” was recorded in New York City on December 19, 1965, and it was released by ESP-Disk in 1966.
The album is a masterpiece of dark and avant-garde vocal jazz, which is beautiful like contemporary classical music.
The first half consists of seven short and tranquil ballads featuring her whispery and smoky voices, influenced by Billie Holiday, with her piano accompaniment.
The first track “Moon, Don’t Come Up Tonight” was co-produced with Sally Wood. It was composed by Wood and written by Waters.
The eighth track “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” (about 14 minutes) is an avant-garde cover of a traditional folk song.
Other six tracks are originals by Waters.
“Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” is her best known recording. It is performed by her vocal improvisations including moans, whispers, screams and wails, piano, piano harp, bass, and percussion.
It is an experimental performance like a challenge to the limits that the human voice can express. It shows the influence of free jazz by Albert Ayler.
In this track, Steve Tintweiss played the bass, Tom Price played the percussion, and Burton Greene played the piano and the piano harp.