Feather, Leonard

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1914-09-13
Death 1994-09-22
Americans

Biographical notes:

Composer, producer, pianist, and jazz journalist Leonard Geoffrey Feather was born in London, UK, on September 13, 1914. In the 1930s, he arranged, composed, and produced jazz sessions, and began to write about jazz for print media. He moved to New York City in 1935 and worked with Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Duke Ellington, establishing his reputation in various fields of jazz. He wrote for famous jazz journals and various books on jazz, and was particularly influential in promoting Bebop. In 1946, while working for Metronome, Feather created the blindfold test, an interview (with, most often, a jazz musician) during which Feather would play ten or twelve jazz tunes in current release and ask the interviewee for an on the spot review. The column moved with Feather to Down beat a few years later and remains one of that magazine's most popular features. Feather moved to Los Angeles in 1960, and became the chief jazz critic for the Los Angeles Times. He died on September 22, 1994.

From the description of Leonard Feather jazz collection, 1914-1994. (University of Idaho Library). WorldCat record id: 173846579

Leonard Geoffrey Feather was born in Hampstead, London, in 1914. He relocated to New York City in 1939. Journalist, producer, and composer, Mr. Feather is best known as a jazz critic. He wrote several books about jazz, including Inside Be-Bop (1949), the Encyclopedia of Jazz (1960), and the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz, co-written with Ira Gitler, which was published posthumously, in 1999. His compositions include songs such as "Evil Gal Blues," "Blowtop Blues," "Mighty Like the Blues," and "How Blue Can You Get." Leonard created the "Blindfold Test" for Metronome magazine and later for DownBeat magazine. The test also became a segment of Feather's radio show "Platterbrains." It consisted of artists listening to a recording, without knowledge of the performer and then offering an opinion, this process often resulting in surprising results. He moved to Los Angeles in 1960 and critiqued jazz for the Los Angeles Times until his death. Mr. Feather died in Sherman Oaks, California, in 1994. For further information, see The Leonard Feather Scrapbooks, a website created by his daughter Lorraine Feather.

From the guide to the Leonard Feather Papers, 1900-1999, 1935-1990, (University of Idaho Library Special Collections and Archives)

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Subjects:

  • Music critics--Archives
  • Jazz--History--20th century--Sources
  • Journalism
  • Jazz musicians
  • Music

Occupations:

  • Composers

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