Review of John Gennari. 2006. Blowin’ Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press

Steinbeck, Paul

John Gennari’s Blowin’ Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics is a comprehensive history of American jazz criticism since the 1930s, centered on the foremost cultural achievement of the jazz critical field: “jazz’s canonization as an art”. The conceptual and historical framework of Blowin’ Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics originated in Gennari’s 1991 article “Jazz Criticism: Its Development and Ideologies,” which was written at a time when the jazz canonization process still seemed incomplete. In the fifteen years or so since Gennari’s assessment, the canonization of jazz has been assure, largely because of the Jazz at Lincoln Center juggernaut and its affiliated critics and cultural output, but also through the intellectual work of what Gennari calls the “new interdisciplinary ‘jazz studies'”. In Blowin’ Hot and Cool, Gennari explains how “critics have been among the most important jazz mediators” between musicians and audiences.


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August 18, 2022