The new BE! Jazz box will be released in late October.
Here’s an excerpt from the introduction by Robert von Zahn:
There are people who have never heard of Jutta Hipp. Even German jazz fans can’t categorize her when the name is mentioned. You might give some hints by referring to the 1950s and to cool jazz – but it still won’t ring a bell. Only when pointing out to her recordings for BLUE NOTE might you see some appreciative smiles.
So why curate a project on Jutta Hipp with an enyclopedic character? Perhaps because there are indeed jazz fans who will be all smiles when listening to the first chords of a Jutta Hipp recording. And perhaps because Jutta Hipp is appreciated by female jazz musicians – not only for her music but also for her biography, a life that was entirely dedicated to jazz for many years.
Jutta Hipp played a highly memorable piano style. During her cool phase she captivated listeners with her individual drive – her superior technical skills and atmospheric style were so cool that merely by listening you’d imagine in your mind’s eye a pianist in black attire, sunglasses, and a cigarette holder in the corner of her mouth. In reality, however, the photographs show a beautiful woman, without much coolness, but with untamed red hair and a restrained tension in her eyes.
It was not easy for her to dedicate her live to jazz. Growing up in Germany during the Third Reich she absorbed jazz music by listening to enemy radio broadcasts. She gave some offence – not only with her music but also with her rebellious spirit. In the postwar era she finally moved to the west and performed at American NCO clubs, with like-minded musicians and with German bands who tried to follow in the footsteps of their American jazz idols.
Jutta Hipp stood out. Her piano style, her pretentious appearance and the fact that she was a woman who played jazz music – all these facts attracted attention. In Frankfurt am Main her reputation spread across the borders of the jazz community. A cool jazz icon, she won theGerman jazz polls and conquered the Frankfurt jazz festivals – until jazz impresario Leonard Feather offered her the big step to the land of limitless opportunity – to the USA, to New York.
This box-set provides a complete overview of this versatile artist. Especially her outstanding visual work is hardly known, and here, for the first time, it receives a comprehensive acknowledgement. She left behind a collection of watercolour paintings, drawings and cartoons. Her poems and sketches give evidence of her precise observational skill with regard to both physiognomy and characters. Thus it comes as no surprise that Jutta Hipp’s recollections paint very poignant pictures of her contemporaries: for the most part it’s the letters to her friends which offer an insight into her experiences and thoughts.
The aim of this BE! RECORDS box-set presenting “The Life And Art Of Jutta Hipp” is to put the creation of her works in a biographical context. The authors describe the various phases in Jutta Hipp’s life, pointing out typical situations female artists had to deal with during that era – from the 1940s to the 1960s – which made it considerably more difficult for a woman to pursue a career in music than it was for her male colleagues.
Jutta Hipp recorded for BLUE NOTE, she performed with international stars – and yet she abandoned her musical career. Fotos and documents illustrate the stages of her career and the emerging decision to withdraw from the jazz scne. The recordings of Jutta Hipp’s style, however, are timeless – sometimes lyrical, sometimes with driving chords. You might hear a permanent “let’s go!” coming from her left hand.
Robert v. Zahn