Tuesday, May 14, 2013

JazzHaus III: Oscar Pettiford and Jutta Hipp

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

The editorial staff at JazzProfiles has written extensively about the previously released CD’s on the JazzHaus label, all of which you can locate to the left of this feature in the blog sidebar.

JazzHaus has recently continued it’s CD issuance of “Lost Tapes” with Oscar Pettiford: The Lost Tapes, Germany 1958-1959 [#101719] and Jutta Hipp: The Lost Tapes, The German Recordings , 1952-1955 [#101723].

Both bassist Pettiford and pianist Hipp were somewhat tragic figures in modern jazz history, each for different reasons, as Oscar died in an automobile accident in 1960 at the age of forty-eight and Jutta mysteriously turned her back on the music and retired from the scene in 1958 at the age of forty-three.

In addition to having more of Oscar and Jutta’s music available, the latest JazzHaus CD’s also provide an introduction to the less familiar, but nonetheless excellent, local Jazz musicians who were making the German Jazz scene a happening place in the 1950’s such as trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, pianist Hans Hammerschmid, clarinetist Rolf Kuhn, tenor saxophonists Hans Koller and Joki Freund, guitarist Attila Zoller, bassist Franz “Shorty” Roeder and drummers Karl Sanner and Rudi Sehring.

Ulli Pfau produced both CD’s and wrote these insert notes after which you’ll find tribute video montages celebrating both Oscar and Jutta with audio tracks selected from these new CDs.


“Oscar Pettiford first arrived in Germany in 1958 and could scarcely believe the enthusiasm with which his music was received. Not that he had ever been short of success - even before Charlie Parker's breakthrough he had been a bebop pioneer in his quintet with Dizzy Gillespie. This was the dawn of a new jazz era - one that heralded the bass as a solo instrument. In Stuttgart, Pettiford met up with Joachim-Ernst Berendt, who invited him to studio re­cordings and enlisted the finest soloists Europe had to offer at the time: Hans Koller and Attila Zoller; Dusko Goykovich, Hans Hammerschmid, Rolf Kuhn. Kenny Clarke and Lucky Thompson flew in from Paris. Everyone extolled his bold melodic ideas, the bounce and swing of his playing. Between autumn 1958 and the summer of 1959, the sessions resulted in historic recordings -standards, mostly, which gave the alternating ensembles a harmonic orienta­tion.

Pettiford's brisk but elegiac duo with Goykovich in Gershwin's But Not For Me; gossamer-like, Lucky Thompson in Sophisticated Lady, followed by Koller with an uber-cool interpretation of The Nearness Of You and a bass solo; then Pettiford shows his cello skills in All The Things You Are.

O.P. moved to Baden-Baden, later Copenhagen, touring and playing frenetically - like a man possessed. He died following a car accident in September 1960. His colleagues played charity concerts for Pettiford's children, whose welfare had always been his primary concern - he himself had been one of fourteen brothers and sisters.”

[Bassist Oscar Pettiford performing his orignal composition "Blues in the Closet" with Hans Koller on tenor saxophone, Attila Zoller on guitar, Hans Hammerschmid on piano and drummer Kenny Clarke.]


“A woman from Leipzig. By the age of 13, Jutta Hipp had completed her classi­cal piano studies. With the war in full flow she embarked on an art degree and got to know all the jazz greats of the day: Emil and Albert Mangelsdorff, Joki Freund, Hans Koller, whose admiration for Lester Young would wonderfully complement her own relaxed performance style. A redhead with striking good looks, hypersensitive and outrageously talented - she quickly became an object of attention in the early 1950s. The great Leonard Feather wrote ‘Dear Jutta’ and promised her a great career in the USA. So in late 1955 she left for New York. Alfred Lion signed her to Blue Note; three recordings in just eight months; an object of awe in the clubs - the "Frauleinwunder".

And then it was all over as quickly as it had started. She fell out with Feather, withdrew from the jazz scene altogether, ran into financial difficulties, turned to drink. In 1958 she found a job as a seamstress in Queens, took photographs, painted in her spare time. She retired in 1995, devoted herself to making traditional dolls. She died in 2OO3, aged 78, reclusive, alone. She had never been back to Germany.

Her volume of work is slender and erratic. The Koblenz recordings from November 1952 reveal a precocious talent: entirely at ease in the standards, creatively original with the tunes and headstrong in improvisation. Dieter Zimmerle's studio recordings with her quintet were made just before she left for the USA - and what a legacy it turned out to be! What Is This Thing Called Love? asks Cole Porter of all the great jazz soloists. Jutta Hipp had an answer. But she never told anyone.”

[Pianist Jutta Hipp performing "Daily Double" with Albert Mangelsdorff on trombone, Joki Freund on tenor saxophone, Franz "Shorty" Roeder on bass and Karl Sanner on drums.]

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