Monday, 11 July 2011

Leonard Feather

Leonard Geoffrey Feather (13 September 1914–22 September 1994) was a British-born jazz pianist, composer, and producer who was best known for his music journalism and other writing.

Feather was born in London into a strictly conformist upper-middle-class Jewish family. He learned to play the piano and clarinet (though was not formally trained), and had started writing about jazz and film by his late teens. At the age of twenty-one Feather made his first visit to the United States, and after working in the U.K. and the U.S. as a record producer finally settled in New York City in 1939, where he lived until moving to Los Angeles in 1960. Feather was coeditor of the Metronome magazine[1] and served as chief jazz critic for the Los Angeles Times until his death. He died in Sherman Oaks, California at the age of eighty.

Feather's compositions have been widely recorded, including "Evil Gal Blues" and "Blowtop Blues" by Dinah Washington, and what is possibly his biggest hit, "How Blue Can You Get?" by blues artists Louis Jordan and B. B. King, and some of his own recordings as a bandleader are still available. But it was as a writer on jazz (as a journalist, critic, historian, and campaigner) that he made his biggest mark: "Feather was for a long time the most widely read and most influential writer on jazz." Even jazz enthusiasts who didn't read his books and articles would have known him from the liner notes that he wrote for hundreds of jazz albums.

He wrote the lyrics to the jazz song "Whisper Not" which was then recorded by Ella Fitzgerald on her 1966 Verve release of the same name.

He is the father of lyricist/songwriter Lorraine Feather.

Leonard Feather Presents Bop (1957)


01.Little Benny
03.Lemon Drop
06.Salt Peanuts
07.Groovin' High
08.Shaw 'Nuff
09.Now's the Time
10.Hot House
11.52nd Street Theme

George Wallington piano
Phil Woods alto sax
Idrees Sulieman trumpet (1-5)
Thad Jones trumpet
Curly Russell bass
Denzil Best drums (1-5)
Art Taylor drums

"The sessions on this LP reissue were originally organized by
Leonard Feather to pay tribute to the bop era. The 11 selections
(all dating from the mid-to late-'40s) feature pianist George
Wallington (who is actually the set's leader), altoist Phil Woods,
either Idrees Sulieman or Thad Jones on trumpet, bassist Curley
Russell, and either Denzil Best or Art Taylor on drums. About the
only surprise occurs on "Salt Peanuts," which has an off-key
"vocal" from five-year-old Baird Parker, son of the late Charlie
Parker. Otherwise, the playing of Woods makes this a worthwhile
session for bop fans."


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