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Patty Waters: Priestess of the Avant-Garde

Patty Waters in the late 1960s

Just before midnight on a chilly evening last May, a black-robed priestess stood before a congregation of two hundred in New York’s Little Italy. Raising a frail, ghostly voice, she led people willingly into a dark corner of their souls. They stared at her in silence, hanging on her every agitated murmur and moan. For all they knew, this seer who had vanished for 35 years might never come back.

That spectacle closed the first night of the 2003 Vision Festival, an annual gathering of the avant-garde in jazz-those musicians who, starting in the ’60s, blew apart every established notion of beauty, safety and truth.

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