Blowin' Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics (Google eBook)

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 15, 2010 - Music - 494 pages
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In the illustrious and richly documented history of American jazz, no figure has been more controversial than the jazz critic. Jazz critics can be revered or reviled—often both—but they should not be ignored. And while the tradition of jazz has been covered from seemingly every angle, nobody has ever turned the pen back on itself to chronicle the many writers who have helped define how we listen to and how we understand jazz. That is, of course, until now.

In Blowin’ Hot and Cool, John Gennari provides a definitive history of jazz criticism from the 1920s to the present. The music itself is prominent in his account, as are the musicians—from Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Roscoe Mitchell, and beyond. But the work takes its shape from fascinating stories of the tradition’s key critics—Leonard Feather, Martin Williams, Whitney Balliett, Dan Morgenstern, Gary Giddins, and Stanley Crouch, among many others. Gennari is the first to show the many ways these critics have mediated the relationship between the musicians and the audience—not merely as writers, but in many cases as producers, broadcasters, concert organizers, and public intellectuals as well.

For Gennari, the jazz tradition is not so much a collection of recordings and performances as it is a rancorous debate—the dissonant noise clamoring in response to the sounds of jazz. Against the backdrop of racial strife, class and gender issues, war, and protest that has defined the past seventy-five years in America, Blowin’ Hot and Cool brings to the fore jazz’s most vital critics and the role they have played not only in defining the history of jazz but also in shaping jazz’s significance in American culture and life.
  

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Blowin' hot and cool: jazz and its critics

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When this reviewer thinks of jazz critics, he thinks of pretentious, opinionated white men with little or no musical talent arguing among themselves about obscure artists and recordings. Gennari ... Read full review

Contents

Not Only a New Art Form but a New Reason for Living
19
As If It Were Artistic and Not Just a Teenage Enthusiasm Hot Collecting across the Color Line
61
Hearing the Noisy Lostness Telling the Story of Jazz
117
Writers Writers and Sensitive Cats Mapping the New Jazz Criticism
165
Swinging in a HighClass Groove Mainstreaming Jazz in Lenox and Newport
207
The Shock of the New Black Freedom the Counterculture and 1960s Jazz Criticism
251
Raceing the Bird Ross Russells Obsessive Pursuit of Charlie Parker
299
Tangled Up in Blues The New Jazz Renaissance and Its Discontents
339
Change of the Century
373
Notes
387
Index
445
Copyright

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Page 30 - Let the blare of Negro jazz bands and the bellowing voice of Bessie Smith singing blues penetrate the closed ears of the colored near-intellectuals until they listen and perhaps understand. Let Paul Robeson singing Water Boy...

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About the author (2010)

John Gennari is assistant professor of English at the University of Vermont, where he also directs the ALANA U.S. Ethnic Studies Program.


 

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