[Dixielandjazz] OBIT OF HIPP
barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Apr 11 11:13:49 PDT 2003
NOT OKOM - FORGIVE MY POSTING OF JUTTA HIPP'S NY TIMES OBIT. SHE WAS A
NEAT LADY WHOM I KNEW, AND LIVED NEAR IN QUEENS COUNTY OF NEW YORK CITY.
THE OBIT IS FASCINATING IN THE STORY THAT IT TELLS. IF YOU READ IT, NOTE
ESPECIALLY HER COMMENTS ABOUT MUSICAL PREFERENCES OF AMERICAN GI's IN
LEIPZIG IN 1945.
THEY MAY SURPRISE YOU.
April 11, 2003
Jutta Hipp, Jazz Pianist With a Percussive Style, Dies at 78
By BEN RATLIFF
Jutta Hipp, a jazz pianist from Germany who had a short, celebrated
career in he 1950's playing in New York nightclubs and making records
for the Blue Note label, then turned her back on jazz to become a
dressmaker, died on Monday at her home in Queens. She was 78.
The cause has not been determined, said Tom Evered, general manager of
Blue Note Records.
Ms. Hipp (whose first name was pronounced YOU-ta) left Europe for the
United States in 1955. As a young adult, she studied at the Leipzig
Academy of Graphic Arts in East Germany, but crossed over to West
Germany in 1946 after the Russians moved in to occupy Leipzig.
In an interview with Whitney Balliett of The New Yorker, she said that
she had been excited about the initial postwar occupation of Leipzig by
American forces. "We were very happy at their coming and brought out all
our jazz records to play for them," she said. "No response. We were
terribly hurt until we discovered what was wrong, which was that those
G.I.'s didn't like jazz; they liked hillbilly music." She did not get
along much better with the Russians, who wanted to put her design skills
to work on propaganda posters.
Ms. Hipp had been playing piano since she was 9, and in West Germany she
played in a circus and eventually at nightclubs.
In Munich she started her own small group, and around 1951 a friend sent
a tape to the American jazz critic and record producer Leonard Feather.
Feather found her in Germany in 1954 and arranged a visa for her to work
in the United States. Once she was in New York, he booked her at the
Hickory House jazz club.
She started playing at the Hickory House in March 1956 and stayed there
for six months. Through Feather's agency, three records appeared in
quick succession on Blue Note: "Jutta Hipp With Zoot Sims" and two
volumes of "Jutta Hipp at the Hickory House," with a trio including the
bassist Peter Ind and the drummer Ed Thigpen. She appeared at the
Newport Jazz Festival in 1956.
After spending time with her idols Erroll Garner, Lennie Tristano and
Bud Powell she developed a style that was lean, percussive, swinging
and interrupted with plenty of rests, not far from Horace Silver's style
but more low-key.
In 1958 she stopped playing jazz because of low self-confidence, her
friends said. After living for a time at a hotel in Manhattan, she
settled in Queens and earned a living as a seamstress. Her friends said
that they never heard of her performing again.
Her obscurity was so complete that Blue Note Records could not mail
royalty checks because it had no address. In 2000 the label found her
through the saxophonist Lee Konitz and his wife, Gundula. She was living
alone in Jackson Heights, Queens, without a piano. The company presented
her with a check for back royalties, amounting to $40,000, built up over
years of sales, principally in Europe and Japan, of her three albums on
LP and CD.
Ms. Hipp has no known survivors.
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