History, Literature, Music, Reviews

Review: Gennari, Blowin’ Hot and Cool

The July 28, 2006, issue of Financial Times ran a review of John Gennari’s Blowin’ Hot and Cool: Jazz and its Critics in which resident jazz critic Mike Hobart doesn’t hesitate to rain praise on Gennari’s latest work:

This is a book about jazz in which the music is in the background, for John Gennari’s main concern is a critique of jazz criticism from the 1930’s to the present. Densley researched, broadly partisan and compiled with a wry sense of humor, Blowin’ Hot and Cool still manages to reveal much about jazz, and more about the lives of its musicians than many recent hagiographies.…
His account opens in the 1930’s, with two patrician figures of great infulence: John Hammond and his English acolyte, Leonard Feather. Negotiating a racially segregated world of thrill seekers, jitterbugs, and the communist party’s popular fronts, they fought for racial integration and jazz as an art, yet fell out over the authenticity of modern jazz. In the process they discovered Count Basie and Billie Holiday, recorded Bessie Smith, and persuaded Benny Goodman to drop schmaltz.

Our excerpt from the first chapter talks more about Feather and Hammond. Gennari also outlined a soundtrack for the book.