Jutta Hipp

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jutta Hipp
Wiki Jutta Hipp Piano.png
Background information
Born February 4, 1925
Leipzig, Germany
Died April 7, 2003(2003-04-07) (aged 78)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Piano
Years active 1940s–58

Jutta Hipp (February 4, 1925 – April 7, 2003) was a jazz pianist who also had some success as a painter. She mostly worked in bebop and cool jazz.

Early life[edit]

Hipp was born on February 4, 1925 in Leipzig, Germany. She began playing the piano at the age of nine.[1] She studied at the East German Leipzig Academy of Graphic Arts before moving to West Germany in 1946 after Russia occupied Leipzig.[1] She played piano in a circus and later in nightclubs.[1]

She first studied painting in Germany, but later played jazz during the war and she indicated jazz was important to her during that period.

Later life and career[edit]

In West Germany Hipp worked with Hans Koller for a time. In Germany she also led a quintet; Albert Mangelsdorff's brother Emil was one of the members.[2]

In 1954 Hipp played with Attila Zoller. In the same year, critic Leonard Feather heard Hipp in Germany, around three years after being sent a recording of her playing by a friend of hers.[1] He arranged a visa for her, and found her a piano job at the Hickory House club in New York.[1] She moved to the United States in 1955,[1] where she spent most of her life. She played at the Hickory House for six months from March 1956.[1] She played at the Newport Jazz Festival in the same year and recorded for Blue Note Records, again with Feather's help.[1] One of these albums was with saxophonist Zoot Sims.[1]

Hipp initially drew some criticism from critics who felt she was too similar to her sponsor, Horace Silver.

Hipp also worked for New York-based trios. She had been determined to be seen as an equal to male players, but at the same time she felt intense nervousness playing with other musicians she admired. Her lack of confidence led to her abandoning jazz in 1958 and from then on she made her living primarily as a seamstress.[1] She also returned to her first interest of painting, and her portraits of various jazz musicians became popular with musicians.

Hipp cut herself off from the music industry to the point that by 2000 Blue Note did not know where to send her royalty checks.[1] Lee Konitz was one of a few musicians who kept in touch with her until her death in Queens. Hipp died of pancreatic cancer on April 7, 2003, in her apartment in Sunnyside, Queens. She never married, but was once engaged to Attila Zoller. She also had a son, Lionel. named after Lionel Hampton, who is believed to have been fathered by an African-American GI when she still lived in Germany. As African American GIs at that time could not accept paternity to a white woman, the specifics of Lionel's father are unknown. Jutta Hipp ultimately gave him up for adoption.[3] An obituary writer noted that "Hipp has no known survivors".[1]

Playing style[edit]

Ben Ratliff, writing in The New York Times, commented that Hipp "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."[1]


After her death, Hipp became of some interest as a woman instrumentalist in the New York jazz scene.[4][dead link]


An album by Jutta Hipp
Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
1952–55 The German Recordings 1952–1955 Jazz House
1954 Jutta Blue Note Some tracks trio, with Hans Kresse (bass), Karl Sanner (drums); some tracks quartet, with Jaki Freund (tenor sax) or Emil Mangelsdorff (alto sax) added; some tracks quintet; released as 10-inch LP[5]
1955* Cool Europe MGM Has two tracks each by Johnny Dankworth, and Albert Hall 1955
1956 At the Hickory House Volume 1 Blue Note Trio, with Peter Ind (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums); in concert
1956 At the Hickory House Volume 2 Blue Note Trio, with Peter Ind (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums); in concert
1956 Jutta Hipp with Zoot Sims Blue Note Quintet, with Zoot Sims (tenor sax), Jerry Lloyd (trumpet), Ahmed Abdul-Malik (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ratliff, Ben (April 11, 2003) "Jutta Hipp, 78, Jazz Pianist with a Lean, Percussive Style". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Blue Note Records Discography: 1953–1954". jazzdisco.org
  3. ^ Jazz Wax
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Dryden, Ken "Review". AllMusic. Retrieved March 2, 2015.

External links[edit]