“This is the secret history of jazz—groundbreaking and essential.”--David Hajdu
“Blowin’ Hot and Cool is an astonishing book: one can see it as a warm, generous critique of jazz, or a trenchant and incisive way of loving it. John Gennari considers all the important people who have shaped jazz criticism over the past seventy-five years, opening up their lives to us and taking their arguments seriously. Somehow, he weaves these insights into an intellectual history of jazz, perhaps its first. I can’t think of a book on jazz that is more ambitious, more beautifully written, or more heartfelt.”--Scott DeVeaux, author of The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History
Farah Jasmine Griffin
“In this exemplary cultural history, John Gennari proves himself to be a talented scholar and a compelling storyteller. Original and well-written, Blowin’ Hot and Cool provides a nuanced analysis of the jazz critic as cultural arbiter, pedagogue, and controversial, but necessary advocate of the music.”--Farah Jasmine Griffin, author of If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday
“Finally, a book that lays bare the inner workings of jazz criticism! John Gennari’s Blowin’ Hot and Cool probes this fascinating story-behind-the-story, revealing how our appreciation of the music has been irreversibly shaped by a handful of influential writers who never recorded a solo or wrote a chart. This book belongs on the shelf of any serious fan of jazz.”--Ted Gioia, author of The History of Jazz
Todd Spires | Library Journal
"[Gennari] does perform something magical: he manages to make the role and history of the jazz critic interesting. This finely written, thought-provoking chronicle of the most prominent jazz writers of the past century begins with pioneers John Hammond and Leonard Feather (who helped the likes of Duke Ellington get much needed attention) and ends with modern-day jazz critics like Stanly Crouch and Gary Giddens. Gennari connects the critic to the musicians, showing the roles they played in disseminating information and connecting the acts to the audience. This is an essential purchase for any comprehensive jazz collection. Highly recommended."
Financial Times | Mike Hobart
"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 1930s to the present. Densely researched, broadly unpartisan and compiled with a wry sense of humour, Blowin’ Hot and Cold still manages to reveal much about jazz, and more about the lives of its musicians, than any number of hagiographies."
William Palmer | Literary Review
“Admirable in its scholarly apparatus and painstaking research. Its subject--the history of jazz criticism and critics--. . . is a fascinating if rather oblique history of jazz told from the back stairs. . . . Gennari’s book is excellent.”--William Palmer, Literary Review
Jack McCray | Post and Courier
"One of the last great untold stories in jazz has been addressed."
Scott Hanley | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"This is a well-written overview of many different perspectives of a rich and engaging music. . . . This book is not just rich in information and storytelling, but also in the ebb and flow of the passions that underpin jazz. In the process, Gennari finds decades of discourse and disagreement, alliances and arguments. . . . Contrasting and blending together the perspectives of many different critics over three quarters of a century, this book is a truly fresh look at the history of jazz."
David Yaffe | Nation
“The first sustained scholarly book exclusively about jazz criticism--and, not least, about the passions that have driven and surrounded it--Blowin' Hot and Cool is thorough, absorbing and original, an obsessive study of professional obsessives that will circumvent the need for any other.“—David Yaffe, Nation
Norman Weinstein | All About Jazz
"Thoughtfully questioning one's taste in jazz is like cleansing your palate between the courses of a rich meal. Only the very best writing can provoke such fundamental questioning. Count Gennari among the very best jazz writers. . . . If you're ready to open your mind, this book is for you."
Stephen Brown | Times Literary Supplement
"Reading [Blowin' Hot and Cool] is a liberating experience, one that brings the music closer. . . . This is a rich book, bursting with anecdote and observation."
Sholto Byrnes | The Independent
"This is a valuable book, and a fascinating one, ranging from the important role played by the critic, John Hammond . . . in the 1930s, to the epic battles over the 'Young Lions' movement in the 1980s."
John Mason | Ellingtonia
"The story that Gennari has to tell is compelling, his research is deep, and his argument is sound. My vision of jazz is distinctly richer for having read this book."
Ed Pavlic | American Book Review
"Gennari's prose conveys a sense of immediate importance and makes for a surprising rich narrative structure. . . . [The author's] ability to merge the biographical, historical, intellectual, formal, geographic, and ideological trajectories that informed the combination of music, critical discourse, and audience appreciation makes it clear that the writing about jazz is an essential part of our understanding of the superstructure of American modernity."
Benjamin Cawthra | Belles Lettres
"Gennari delivers a book that, in chronicling nearly a century of debates within jazz, links those debates to wider discourses in society. . . . This is a strong opening statement on a subject ripe for fresh analysis, confidently argued, with which anyone interested in jazz, its history, and its fluctuating but significant place in American culture will want to engage."
Introduction: (Much More than) a Few Words about Jazz
1. "Not Only a New Art Form but a New Reason for Living"
2. "As If It Were Artistic and Not Just a Teenage Enthusiasm"
Hot Collecting across the Color Line
3. Hearing the "Noisy Lostness"
Telling the Story of Jazz
4. Writer's Writers and Sensitive Cats
Mapping the New Jazz Criticism
5. Swinging in a High-Class Groove
Mainstreaming Jazz in Lenox and Newport
6. The Shock of the New
Black Freedom, the Counterculture, and 1960s Jazz Criticism
7. Race-ing the Bird
Ross Russell's Obsessive Pursuit of Charlie Parker
8. Tangled Up in Blues
The New Jazz Renaissance and Its Discontents
Conclusion: Change of the Century
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu