Leonard Feather

Leonard Feather

Robert Goffin, Benny Carter, Louis Armstrong, and Leonard Feather (L to R) in 1942
Background information
Birth name Leonard Geoffrey Feather
Born (1914-09-13)13 September 1914
Origin London, England
Died 22 September 1994(1994-09-22) (aged 80)
Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Journalist
Instruments Piano

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 without formal training and started writing about jazz and film by his late teens. At 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 co-editor of Metronome magazine[1] and served as chief jazz critic for the Los Angeles Times until his death.

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. 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."[2] 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 were recorded by Ella Fitzgerald on her 1966 Verve release of the same name.

Feather's archives are held by the University of Idaho Library's Special Collections & Archives department as part of the International Jazz Collections.

Feather died in Sherman Oaks, California, at age eighty. He was the father of lyricist and songwriter Lorraine Feather.



With Langston Hughes


  1. Miles Davis (1989) Autobiography
  2. Brian Priestley, in Carr, Fair-weather, & Priestley, p.248

External links

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