Leonard Feather

Leonard Geoffrey Feather (* September 13, 1914 in London, † September 22, 1994 in Sherman Oaks, California ) was a British jazz musician, jazz journalist and critic, composer, producer and jazz historian, among other things, for the jazz magazine Down Beat wrote and which is known by many jazz books.


Feather grew up in London and since his late teenage years already wrote about film and jazz. He played piano and clarinet (there are some recordings have been published with it ) and composed even later (interpreted, among others, by Mel Torme and BB King). After 1935, the first time visited the U.S. and worked alternately there and in England as a record producer and arranger (including for Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, Benny Carter in England ), he moved to New York in 1939 all over. Here he produced Lester Young and Charlie Parker, and the first records of Dinah Washington, George Shearing and Sarah Vaughan. In the 1940s he organized in New York, the concerts at Carnegie Hall and was press agent of Duke Ellington.

From 1943 Feather was an editor at Esquire Magazine and columnist for the magazines Metronome, Downbeat, Playboy (as of 1959 he was the jazz editor ), the Los Angeles Times and Jazz Times., Introduced by him in 1946 at Metronome Blindfold Test, played in the jazz musicians in interviews music was known to get, and they shall assign the correct authors in the " blind test ". His Blindfold tests published regularly since 1951 in Down Beat. In 1960 he moved to Los Angeles. 1972-1974 he was a lecturer at the University of Loyola and 1987-1988 at the University of California at Los Angeles. On the radio he said for years at the Music USA Program the Voice of America.

Leonard Feather wrote the accompanying texts ( liner notes ) for thousands of jazz albums and has long been the leading jazz critics. From 1967 he also had a TV show Feather on Jazz, which was shown for a time in the German television in the first program of the ARD. He is best known as the author of numerous books and jazz in particular, his jazz encyclopedia, whose creation he sent questionnaires to musicians regularly.

Feathers is the daughter of jazz singer and songwriter Lorraine Feather ( born 1948 ).


  • Inside Bebop. 1949 new as Inside Jazz. Da Capo, 1977 ISBN 0,306,800,764th
  • The book of jazz - a guide to the Entire field. New York 1957, 1961, 1976, Horizon 1988.
  • Passion for Jazz. Da Capo.
  • Pleasures of Jazz. Delacorte 1977, ISBN 0,385,287,860th
  • From Satchmo to Miles. 1973 new Da Capo, 1987, ISBN 1,417,618,922th
  • The Jazz Years: earwitness to an Era. Da Capo 1987.
  • John Tracy: Laughter from the Hip. Horizon 1963.
  • Encyclopedia of Jazz. 1955 Horizon 1960 ( as New Encyclopedia of Jazz ). new 1984 Gitler.
  • Encyclopedia of Jazz in the 60s. 1966, 1986 ( Updated material for the Encyclopedia of Jazz of 1960).
  • Ira Gitler with: The encyclopedia of jazz in the 70s. Horizon Press 1976, 1987 ( Updated material for the Encyclopedia of Jazz in 1960 and Encyclopedia of Jazz in the 60s, 1966).
  • This. Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. 2nd edition, Oxford University Press 1999, ISBN 0195074181 ( Biographies of 3,300 jazz musicians ).
  • The Encyclopedia Yearbook of Jazz. Horizon 1956, reprint by Da Capo 1993, ISBN 0306805294th
  • Joachim -Ernst Berendt Story of Jazz. rororo 1997, Armstrong and Ellington items. Bebop, cool jazz and hard bop.


Feather played with Louis Armstrong, Barney Bigard, the band Marsala and Sarah Vaughan. His own bands were called Ye olde english swynge band, Esquire all americans and Playboy Jazz All Stars.