Jutta Hipp “with Zoot Sims” (1956)

Track selection: “Just Blues” (Zoot Sims) >

And a bonus track

“Violets for Your Furs” (With a little more Jutta than Zoot) >

Artists

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.

Music

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

Collectors Corner

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.

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14 thoughts on “Jutta Hipp “with Zoot Sims” (1956)

  1. diggin’ the crates here. to your knowledge guys, does the 1972 MONO repress from UA is a “real” MONO/microgroove pressing – as label tells – or rather a “mono sound” pressed in stereo groove, as later repressings are?

    • I don’t know this for sure but my guess is that most mono records cut after the 60s are cut with a duplicate signal being fed to a stereo cutting head. That being said, I don’t think that makes the record any less ‘mono’ than if it were cut with a traditional mono cutting head. The only real (somewhat) significant difference is the groove width. If cut with a stereo head, the UA reissues are therefore by default 0.7-mil, whereas older mono records cut with a mono head are 1-mil. Personally I haven’t noticed any mind-blowing difference between the various technologies…see my article here: http://dgmono.com/2017/02/17/modern-mono-playback/

      Good question. 🙂

  2. In an obituary published by The Telegraph, we are told that “nervousness and self-effacement caused [Jutta Hipp] to abandon music”.

    Nervous? Self-effacing? The story quoted in the same context from the German magazine Jazz Podium (for those interested: it’s the February 1995 issue, p. 7 ff.) may shed some light on the obstacles she must have been facing on a daily basis – being a female jazz instrumentalist, and being a European. In the JP article she recalls that one night when Art Blakey asked her to sit in with his band at New York’s Cafe Bohemia, she refused, saying she was drunk, and anyway did not think she was good enough. Blakey dragged her to the piano, and started playing at a furious tempo which she could not handle. Blakey then addressed the audience: “Now you see why we don’t want these Europeans coming over here and taking our jobs!”

  3. Upon doing some thorough research via Popsike (including personal experience), there is no New York USA pressing of this album; as far as I can tell it was only pressed once with the “P”, with Lexington labels and the flat edge. One of the Popsike copies that sold for $6-700 claims W63rd labels but I’m pretty sure it’s a mistake (either that or someone bought a Japanese reissue for way too much), no other Popsike description above $100 claims those labels.

  4. Hello LJC, I just bought the same issue of this myself last week — partly as a result of being intrigued by your account. It’s good stuff – and in some respects curiously modern too. Keep the recommendations coming.

  5. The CD counterpart comes with the bonus cuts “These Foolish Things” and ” ‘s Wonderful”. This remains a ‘sure shot’ when you’re DJing on a local jazz festival. Every year there’s a few old timers that walk up to the DJ booth asking “what is it that you have on?”. Imagine the look on their face when I hand them the CD case so they can read that they’re listening to something that was recorded when they were in their teens!

  6. What a wonderful name. Piano very subdued in that track, almost apologetic… the male ego’s with the brass and woodwind muscling in!

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