An incredible tribute to German pianist Jutta Hipp – one of the few female players in the postwar European jazz scene, and one of the few who managed to make a splash on this side of the Atlantic too! Jutta's best known to American audiences for a handful of records she cut for Blue Note – and this set takes those records, and moves way way past them – to including a huge range of material that really opens up our understanding of Hipp's music in her all-too-short career! The CDs feature early German recordings – in a number of sessions with small groups that include a quintet with Emil Mangelsdorff on alto and Joki Freeund on tenor, a number of performances in the New Jazz Stars group of tenorist Hans Koller, work in a quintet with Attila Zoller on guitar, another sextet with Albert Mangelsdorff on trombone, and a group co-led with baritone saxoponist Lars Gullin.
Unusually the liner note deserves a mention ahead of the music: the fine pianist Jeremy Denk, half of this regular duo, manages to encapsulate the elusiveness of French romantic music with such insight in a few sharp sentences, his words almost shape the way we listen to this superbly played disc. Saint-Saëns' wistful and emotional Sonata No 1 and Ravel's bluesy, ironic sonata have a whipped, airy quality. Joshua Bell plays with fire and finesse, with Denk a powerful ally. Franck's dark-light violin sonata, mysterious, ardent and far more than the sum of its parts when played as majestically as here, forms the centrepiece of this seriously beguiling disc.
The original idea was for Art Garfunkel to record an album of songs written by Jimmy Webb. But when the leadoff single, "Crying in My Sleep," failed to make the charts, Columbia Records withdrew the album and induced Garfunkel to put together a cover of Sam Cooke's "(What A) Wonderful World" with Paul Simon and James Taylor harmonizing. The single and a revised version of the album then made the Top 40.
More than most composers currently active, Brett Dean uses music to tackle political and social themes of our times. A common factor in the works on this recording is the sometimes problematic aspects of human communication and the erosion and misuse of language. In his violin concerto The Lost Art of Letter Writing, which was awarded the renowned Grawemeyer Award in 2009, Dean strikes a blow for written correspondence, demonstrating how, even today, the art of letter writing, the conveyance of wholly individual mood pictures, is possible.