Publisher Profile

VIP 7 – Jutta Hipp – The German Recordings 1952 to 1955 – Lost Tapes

By: |

Until this reissue by Jazz Haus, the only thing I knew about Jutta Hipp was that her early 10” LP from Blue Note, Jutta Hipp Quintet (New Faces-New Sounds From Germany), BLP5056. It was difficult to find and very expensive if in Mint condition. It’s also a good example of a fake DSM cover (David Stone Martin, who had a unique style). Blue Note collectors like to have “complete runs”, and the rarity of more obscure artists, like Jutta Hipp, make pristine copies very valuable, with the musical content an afterthought. There’s an artificially inflated value, a mystique, about Blue Note, that everything was a masterpiece. This is not true. Rudy van Gelder made as many bad sounding recordings as good. Some Blue Notes are boring. Some don’t hold up, with the “bongo records” sounding particularly stupid. You hip, daddy-o? By the way, this early Blue Note LP was recorded in Germany, and sounds markedly better than some early Blue Note sessions recorded in the US, when the LP was just gaining traction. German tape recorder technology was very good—they invented it. With only four Blue Note “dates”, and one on MGM, this new material is particularly valuable for fans of Hipp. According to All Music Guide, there are three other releases by suitably obscure labels.

Describing the style of a pianist, particularly one from Europe, is almost excruciatingly hard. Most Euro jazz musicians from the ‘30s through the ‘50s had very limited exposure to the lesser influential American counterparts, so that specific players, styles and songs became the template for the aspiring young musician. It’s as if the only painting you had seen was “Guernica”, and that became the basis for all your painting. “Well, Guernica has a bull, and this is a painting, therefore all paintings must have a bull.” What happens if the gallery manager has only seen a painting by Renoir? He’s going to think your style is “weird”, “radical” or “angry”. Some Japanese and European jazz musicians approach the genre almost like it’s a codified classical art, going by the “rules” like they would if they were writing counterpoint in the Bach style; and bits and pieces of Baroque counterpoint could be called a form of jazz—it’s full of improvisation after all. That means they will likely imitate a specific player, and use that player’s style as the basis for their improvisation. (What penetrating commentary! -Pub.)

With Jutta Hipp, there is evidence in these European recordings that she was original. While she was definitely influenced by American musicians, the style she developed in Germany was unique to her, and, in my limited experience, most German jazz pianists from the ‘50s. On several later cuts, her solos mix a Baroque counterpoint with jazz harmonies, switching between “straight” playing and “swing” playing regularly. After her move to the U.S., she was out of place, surrounded by unfamiliar musicians that were playing a style of bebop that was quite different from her own. Trying to fit in with contemporary U.S. musicians, she altered her own unique sound. It reminds me of athletes. There are styles and systems that change from team to team. Euro basketball is different from American basketball. American basketball systems change from coach to coach and team to team. Players that flourish in one system, will whither in another. After a few years in America, Jutta Hipp gave up on music and earned a living as a seamstress. In a new land, with new sounds and no close friends to support her, she returned to her first love, painting, to fulfill her need to create. It’s a mystery why she didn’t return to Germany, to her roots and a stronger base for support.

Jutta Hipp – The German Recordings 1952 to 1955 – Lost Tapes

Jutta Hipp – The German Recordings 1952 to 1955 – Lost Tapes


Koblenz, Live (November 30, 1952) tracks 1-5; Baden-Baden, in studio (June 21, 1953) tracks 6-7; Stuttgart (June 28, 1955) tracks 8-11

1. Blues After Hours
2. Errol‘s Bounce
3. Gone With The Wind
4. You Go To My Head
5. What Is This Thing Called Love

6. Sound-Koller
7. Come Back To Sorrento
8. Daily Double
9. Indian Summer
10. Everything Happens To Me
11. Serpentinen

One Response to VIP 7 – Jutta Hipp – The German Recordings 1952 to 1955 – Lost Tapes

  1. Beau says:


    I actually like this release more than the others as I was totally unfamiliar with her work before seeing this LP. Was a pleasant surprise to listen to this LP. I am also being tempted by their jazz CD releases but am holding out to see if they will release them on LP.

    Just amazes me what can be made from 50 year old live recordings. Maybe it’s just me filling in some blanks with my mind but I listen to these LPs over and over and am amazed each time I play them. Makes you wonder what some present day labels are thinking when they release some of the recordings they do!

    Now I just have to find the Oscar Pettiford they just released!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popups Powered By :