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Jutta Hipp- We Lost Her Too Early June 21, 2013
By Joe S. See All My Reviews
"Its not my place in this review to go into an extensive Jutta Hipp biography, but basically, she was a very promising, young jazz pianist from Leipzig, Germany who was so talented that she was whisked away to the United States to make her living as a musician. Tragically, though, her career did not work out. She was crippled by anxiety in her playing and dropped out of making music in 1958 at the age of 33. The recordings on this album are a snapshot of her emerging talent while she was still in Europe, just about to make her big move and then sadly disappear completely. Consistently, Hipp shines throughout the album as the chief contributor to the music, even in the tunes that heavily feature other instruments. Throughout the album, different instruments gradually are introduced into the ensemble, from sax to trombone to guitar. This gradual timbral change kept the album very interesting. Even though this album isnt supposed to be an organic whole, I thought it did hold together as a whole thanks to the timbral variety surrounding Hipp. Hipps playing is very strong and appealing. Some tracks fell flat for me, especially the improvisation in the opening Blues After Hours, but she held her own throughout these recordings really well. At times there were some repeated figures in her playing that she kept playing over and over again to fill space, which didnt impress me, but then these repetitions would suddenly shoot off into terrific runs that I wasnt expecting at all. I really liked how her playing messed with my expectations in that way. The other main strength of this album, in my opinion, was the rhythmic fluidity between Hipp and the other players. The strongest tracks, to me, were the ones in which the players really had to stretch themselves rhythmically to play together. Examples of this included Errolls Bounce and their very weird, very cool Stompin at the Savoy. The tracks with tight unison riffs added a great energy to this recording, including Sound-Koller and Daily Double. Though this album exists mostly as a study piece to hear some of the early playing of Jutta Hipp, I thought there was much more really cool stuff going on musically throughout this album. The other players certainly didnt shine like her on this album, but you cant really blame them when you listen to the real talent that she had."