John Gennari – Flavor and Soul

Interview with John Gennari

Download the mp3 here

Click here for more information about the book Flavor and Soul by John Gennari

“There is no other than Gennari—a huge-hearted scholar of voracious curiosity and impeccable taste—to productively mine what happens when black and Italian meet. He sees the third thing those two galaxies of history and self-expression create at the crossroads. 

Cooking and eating, sports, film, and, of course, music are where the most potent and telling cultural action is, where we go to experience the true beauty and meaning of life in a world where we may know ourselves deeply along cultural lines but then find so much more at the recombinant intersection. 

Flavor and Soul is brilliant, encyclopedic scholarship that also accomplishes the rare work of speaking directly to and from the heart. This is a passionate treasure book of scholarship and ultimately a handbook for living a rich, surprising, culturally-guided life.”

(Elizabeth Alexander, author of The Light of the World: A Memoir)

Click here for more information about the book Flavor and Soul by John Gennari

Video references

Jon Batiste on the influence of opera on Louis Armstrong

The opening cadenza to West End Blues – one part opera, one part blues 

Louis Armstrong and opera 

After completion of my season at the Metropolitan Opera during the 1950’s, I would go to the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas where Louis and I performed both singly and together for a few weeks. We had special material written for us where we reversed roles, doing opera versus jazz; he singing ”Vesti la giubba” and I singing ”Honeysuckle Rose.” Between shows, he would regale me with reports of his European tours, especially in Italy, where he made a point of visiting opera houses, and tell me, ”Man, I met all of them cats over there.”

New Rochelle, N.Y.
From a letter to the New York Times dated April 2, 2000

Louis Prima, his then-wife and “straight man” Keely Smith, Sam Butera and the Witnesses

Frank Sinatra and Count Basie and his Orchestra, arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones (1965)

Qunicy Jones talks about Frank Sinatra

New Orleans “soul” music – Aaron Neville sings “Ave Maria”

Click here for more information about the book Flavor and Soul by John Gennari

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

Music credit: The Jazz on the Tube podcast theme song is “Mambo Inferno” performed by The Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra conducted by Bobby Sanabria from the CD ¡Que Viva Harlem!

Blue Note at Sea - 2019
Mary Lou Williams The Lady who Swings the Band