Hotter Than That by Krin Gabbard claims to be the story of “The Trumpet, Jazz, and American Culture.” It’s actually a description of how masculine the trumpet is and how the author personally experiences the trumpet. Every chapter the author mentions how the trumpet is a pure form of masculine expression. As a woman, it makes me feel left out, and that if I played the trumpet, it would be lesser than a male performer. Even the little section about the history of female trumpeters is sprinkled with comments like, “Although she is tall, slim, and attractive, Jensen is all business when she plays.” (direct quote)
The last straw was at the end of the book, when he spends four pages summarizing the book, all about the masculinity of the trumpet. Only one paragraph mentions women at all, and in it he says, “At this point, it becomes clear why women can be as successful as men when they play the trumpet.” That’s good, but his reasoning is horrible. “If a woman… rips through a phrase like Armstrong or Gillespie at his most intense, we might say that she is expressing the masculine side of herself.” So, according to the author, a woman can’t be a good trumpet player if she isn’t in some way masculine.
The book has other issues, though. It’s poorly organized, with biographical chapters mixed in with chapters about the history and construction of the trumpet. Also, the author spends many pages describing his own personal preferences for the trumpet and how he learned the trumpet.
Review Submitted by: Rebecca Thayer
Rating: Not Recommended