Blowin' Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics
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 criticsUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
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
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aesthetic African American Albert Murray American culture argued artistic audience authentic avant garde band Beat bebop Benny Goodman Billie Bird Lives black culture black jazz black music black musicians Blesh blues canon Charlie Parker Chicago Coltrane concert Dan Morgenstern dance Davis’s deﬁned discourse Dizzy Gillespie Duke Ellington early essay fans ﬁgure ﬁlm ﬁnd ﬁrst Gary Giddins George Harlem hipster Ibid intellectual interview jazz criticism Jazz Festival jazz history jazz musicians Jazz Review jazz world jazz writers jazz’s Jazzmen John Hammond Kofsky Lees Lenox Leonard Feather listening Louis Armstrong magazine mainstream Marshall Stearns Martin Williams Metronome Miles Davis Mingus Morgenstern Nat Hentoff Negro ofJazz Orleans Oxford University Press performance players playing political popular proﬁle race racial Ralph Ellison Ralph Gleason record rhythm Ross Russell RRC/HRHRC Russell’s signiﬁcance social sound Stanley Crouch Stearns’s story swing TheJazz tradition trumpeter Voice Wein white critics white jazz Whitney Balliett writing wrote York