Track selection: “Just Blues” (Zoot Sims) >
And a bonus track
“Violets for Your Furs” (With a little more Jutta than Zoot) >
BLP 1530: Jerry Lloyd (tp) Zoot Sims (ts) Jutta Hipp (p) Ahmed Abdul-Malik (b) Ed Thigpen (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, July 28, 1956
Jutta bio: (1925-2003) The marvelously named Jutta Hipp, the “first jazz queen of Europe”, worshipped by japanese jazz collectors and an iconic record on the level of Sonny Clark’s Cool Struttin’ in Japan. She moved from her native East Germany to West Germany after the war, and to the US in 1955, largely thanks to sponsorship of jazz critic and composer Leonard Feather. She recorded just three records for Blue Note before artistic disagreements with Feather, and dropping out of the music scene altogether, ensuring that her recordings remain obscure and fuel collectors’ dark desires for things “rare”. Abandoning the piano, Hipp worked as a seamstress at a clothing manufacturer in Queens, and for the remainder of her life occupied herself with drawing, painting, doll-making and photography until her death in 2003. Not quite the rock and roll lifestyle.
According to Morton & Cook, Blue Note lost touch with Jutta and failed to pass on her royalties until just a few years before her death.
As a musician Hipp is described as “a cross between Horace Silver and Wynton Kelly”, which means basically she played bop piano, however it is Sims rich and muscular tenor that rather steals the show. “Zoot Sims with Jutta Hipp” might have been a more appropriate title. Mainstream straight-ahead bop, with the passing ballad, but a nice record with a varied texture which is neither just a piano trio nor a tenor quartet.
Vinyl: King Japan GXK 8213
Alas not a Lexington original, but a Japanese issue by King Record Co, Tokyo, Japan, (1981). Mono and the usual excellent pressing on near-silent vinyl by United Artists Japanese partner. Thirty years old, note the odd choice of address on the facsimile Blue Note labels: 47 West 63rd St. rather than Lexington as on the cover. The existence of Japanese masters from Blue Note tapes continues to intrigue, and I hesitate to describe this as a “re-issue” rather, a Japanese first release
A US original pressing was never going to be on the cards, and I was grateful enough to stumble on this King pressing for under £30. The Popsike history is suitably frightening:
One of the ultimate trophy records, $6-800 typical for the NY second press, $3000 for a Lexington, with a maximum $4,600 for one mint-minus, makes this a very expensive record ( the lower price end is entirely reissues around $30, rendering the mean and median calculations “meaningless”). Rare doesn’t describe it adequately, with only three original Blue Notes coming to market during all of 2011, and again only three copies sold in the previous year. Witness the effect of scarcity on price. Definitely a record to play in your submarine on the way to your personal secret island.