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Leonard Feather

The acknowledged dean of American jazz critics, Leonard Feather was also a renowned composer and producer, writing perennials including “Evil Gal Blues,” “Blowtop Blues,” and “How Blue IS IT POSSIBLE TO Get?” in addition to helming debut periods by upcoming legends Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan. Delivered Sept 13, 1914, in London, as a kid Feather researched piano and clarinet, afterwards teaching himself organizing. While likely to enter his father’s clothes retail business, he dedicated his lifestyle to music upon finding Louis Armstrong’s “Western world End Blues” in a Kensington record store. Feather released his writing profession with some letters towards the United kingdom music publication Melody Machine, musing on topics from waltz-time jazz compositions towards the absence of feminine jazz fans; editor Dan Ingman shortly offered him an employee placement. When Armstrong produced his initial appearance on the London Palladium in 1932, Feather is at attendance, subsequently conference his idol in a close by pub. By evening’s end Armstrong decided to sit down for a Melody Machine interview, and both men continued to be lifelong close friends. In 1935 Feather and pianist friend Felix Ruler relocated to NEW YORK. Fellow jazz critic John Hammond fulfilled their ship since it arrived ashore, and on his 1st night within the U.S. Feather observed Bessie Smith carrying out in the Apollo accompanied by a Teddy Hill Orchestra appearance in the Savoy. In credited time, he authorized on as Duke Ellington’s press agent aswell, and his tireless advertising of the performers and ideals where he thought was an incalculable increase for the rising swing period. Feather was most importantly a fantastic judge of brand-new talent, making Washington and Vaughan’s initial studio periods and enhancing the professions of Mary Osborne, Vivian Gary, and Vi Redd. He also collaborated with Mary Lou Williams and Beryl Booker to create many all-women jazz ensembles. For Washington he composed “Bad Gal Blues” and “Blowtop Blues,” and his biggest strike, “How Blue IS IT POSSIBLE TO Obtain?,” was immortalized by everyone from Louis Jordan to B.B. Ruler — bandleaders spanning from Ellington to Count number Basie to Benny Carter also added Feather compositions and agreements with their repertoires. While he continued to be mixed up in music sector for decades to follow along with, producing a group of LPs like the 1951 Prestige time Leonard Feather’s Swingin’ Swedes, the 1954 MGM work Dixieland vs. Birdland, as well as the 1957 VSOP discharge 52nd Road, Feather continues to be most influential being a article writer: a often acerbic yet regularly elegant important voice, he initial earned widespread interest via efforts to Metronome and Esquire, creating for the previous the so-called “blindfold check,” where musicians as well as other sector notables were performed records without understanding the name or players included. The procedure was instrumental in invalidating preconceptions and out and out biases against music artists of confirmed competition, gender, or industrial stature, proving over and over how seldom talent and invention are judged exclusively independently merits. The blindfold check was also a normal portion of Feather’s live-audience radio display Platterbrains, and he enhanced the formulation during his stint with JazzTimes. Using the 1949 publication of his first publication, Inside Be-Bop, Feather efficiently canonized the visionary skills of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. The book’s central styles and arguments had been quickly absorbed low cost from the jazz cognoscenti, even though its author’s criticisms of Thelonious Monk demonstrated wide from the tag. Feather’s most long lasting contribution to jazz criticism and background nevertheless continues to be his 1960 quantity THE BRAND NEW Encyclopedia of Jazz: “Despite mistakes (mainly birthdates) and competitors, from Chilton to Grove, it continues to be indispensable because of its crucial breadth and autonomy, as well as for ancillary areas that approach the topic in myriad methods — musicological, sociological, actually anthropological,” published next-generation jazz critic Gary Giddins. Soon after the book’s publication, Feather relocated to southern California, where he authorized as on jazz critic from the Los Angeles Occasions. Within the years to check out, he also trained at UCLA, the University or college of California at Riverside, and California Condition University or college at Northridge, and released books including 1977’s Inside Jazz and 1987’s From Satchmo to Kilometers. By many accounts, Feather’s energy dimmed following a 1993 earthquake that pressured him to vacate the Sherman Oaks house he distributed to longtime wife, Jane. Following a struggle with pneumonia, he passed away Sept 22, 1994, just a little over weekly recent his 80th birthday. The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz, co-written with Ira Gitler, adopted posthumously in 1999.

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