Review: Gennari, Blowin’ Hot and Cool
In reviewing Blowing Hot and Cool: Jazz and its Critics for the December 17 issue of the Independent, jazz columnist Sholto Byrnes argues that “in the first century of jazz’s existence, it’s the critics who have articulated the arguments about where jazz is from, who it belongs to and where its boundaries lie. [The critics] have been its historians and its definers.” And as the first academic exploration into the legacy of these critics and their powerful role in defining jazz, Byrnes’ review acknowledges John Gennari’s Blowin’ Hot and Cool as an essential contribution to the history of the music. Byrnes writes:
[Blowin’ Hot and Cool] is a valuable book, and a fascinating one, ranging from the the important role played by the critic John Hammond in promoting Benny Goodman and Bessie Smith in the 1930s, to the epic battles fought over the ‘Young Lions’ movement in the 1980’s.
An original and comprehensive approach to jazz history, Gennari’s book will be appreciated by anyone wanting to know more about how modern culture has come to see one of America’s greatest musical traditions.
Read an excerpt along with a soundtrack the author outlined to go with the book.