Jutta Hipp: With Zoot Sims

Album cover art for upc 094639317820
Label: BLUE NOTE
Catalog: 931782B
Format: CD

* 1 Just Blues - 8:42 * 2 Violets for Your Furs - 6:10 * 3 Down Home - 6:43 * 4 Almost Like Being in Love - 6:16 * 5 Wee Dot - 7:28 * 6 Too Close for Comfort - 6:52 * 7 These Foolish Things [*] - 6:12 * 8 'S Wonderful [*] - 5:54

Jutta Hipp, a talented German pianist, came to the United States in the mid-'50s and quickly gained some attention. However, she was soon criticized for sounding too close to Horace Silver and, after recording this final Blue Note album, she gradually dropped out of music. Given the macho critical climate of the hard-bopping mid-'50s, this is understandable from a cultural perspective, but it has no bearing on the musical evidence presented here. For many years (namely the latter half of the '60s through the middle of the '90s), Jutta Hipp with With Zoot Sims was available only as an import LP. It was finally reissued in 1996 on CD with two extra selections that present the complete session that was issued as Blue Note LP (no. 1530) in 1957. Hipp's boppish music on the set is very enjoyable and swinging. Not surprisingly, she does not sound at all like Silver on the date. Teamed up with great tenor Zoot Sims,trumpeter Jerry Lloyd, the under-celebrated bassist and musical innovator Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and drummer Ed Thigpen, Hipp sounds excellent on this program of originals and standards. These include: "Violets for Your Furs," "Almost Like Being in Love," and J.J. Johnson's "Wee Dot." The lone original contributed here is by Sims, whose "Just Blues" opens the set at a sprightly pace. Hipp's delivery as a pianist and as a soloist is relaxed, focused, and swings beautifully. Her unhurried sense of time adds to the relaxed feeling of the session and she is a perfect foil for the far more flashy Sims. The added tunes, versions of George Gershwin's "'S Wonderful," and the gorgeous reading of Holt Marvell's "These Foolish Things" add some interesting melodic and lyric depth to these proceedings. In fact, as a whole, this recording is so wonderfully executed, one has to wonder why Hipp simply dropped out of the jazz world. This formerly rare set is well worth picking up by straight-ahead jazz collectors. Rudy Van Gelder remastered the 2008 CD version of the album for its inclusion in his curated series on the label. ~ Scott Yanow and Thom Jurek, Rovi

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