“Krin Gabbard, a university professor in comparative literary and cultural studies, is also an amateur trumpeter, describing himself as a ‘come-back player.’ A life-long enthusiast who gave up playing when he was a student, he has taken up the trumpet again after forty years, while writing this fascinating exploration of its history in general and its contribution to American culture in particular. You have to ‘blow to know,’ he tells us, and Hotter Than That benefits enormously from his account of a personal odyssey to find himself the ideal trumpet and mouthpiece with which he parallels his argument. He may in the process have become, as he describes himself, ‘a hopeless equipment geek’ but, for his literary purposes, advantageously so . . . Gabbard’s achievement in Hotter Than That has been to chart this musical and cultural shift in a vivid and engrossing history which along the way incorporates perspectives on politics (racial and gender), literature and film. He is particularly good on the role played by the trumpet in the cinema, how several movies featuring troubled trumpeters make the rather banal connection between failure to hit the high note and sexual impotence, and, much more interestingly, how the trumpet’s tonal range has been used to convey complex emotional states.”—John Mole, The Times (UK)
"Hotter Than That is a secondary jazz trumpet player's history of jazz trumpet. He writes the way traditional trumpets sound—brightly, clearly and never losing the point."—Jeff Simon, Buffalo News
Krin Gabbard is professor of comparative literature and English at Stony Brook University and an amateur trumpet player. He is the author of three previous books.
Bold as Brass
For centuries, the trumpet served as a communication tool on battlefields and in courts of royalty. But at the dawn of the 20th century, trumpeters like Buddy Bolden made their instrument speak in new ways. Author Krin Gabbard joins us to talk about his new book, "Hotter than That," a cultural history that traces the trumpet's impact on music and masculinity.