Patty Waters Sings

Reviews

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Dan Singer from New York City turns the spotlight on some overlooked singers of the past.

PATTY WATERS:

HAPPINESS IS A THING CALLED JOE

DBK Works 523

This CD is taken from a 2002 concert at the Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco, California. I’ve raved about her previous CD on the Jazz Focus label (#12) in ITI #108. Here there are 16 songs, all performed most intimately and deeply. Her sound takes a while to get used to. Her style, like no other, is riveting. While a bit hoarse, she actually is quite clear and is certain to excite you. The most similar singer she reminds me of is Mabel Mercer. Her ‘been there and done that’ mood is quite obvious when she sings Ellingtonia. “In My Solitude” (Delange/Mills) is sung with a finely woven intimate understanding. Paul Webster’s haunting lyrics to “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good” will leave you exhausted. Vocal ballad artistry like this is most difficult to perform because it’s too intimate. Patty pulls it off most easily. “Good Morning Heartache” (Higginbotham/Drake/Fisher) has Patty’s individual one of a kind style. Its obsessiveness reminds me of lady Day’s version. It’s bone chilling. Her classy programme continues with a taste of Gershwins “I loves You Porgy”. It’s lavishly depressing. Patty sinks her teeth into a pair of songs by Yip Harburg. She rips into "Old Devil Moon"(Lane) with a light hearted soft swing aided by a stellar solo by Seward McCain on bass. The CD’s title song (Arlen); with a respectful nod to Ethel Waters, is revived here with such enormous vocal purity it's actually as serious a rendition as you’ll ever hear. Patty continues to clearly excel in emotion filled singing.