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Rip Van Feather

July 27, 1986

Leonard Feather, like Rip Van Winkle, takes a few years to wake up--in this case, 14 years.

In his July 15 Calendar Home Tech videocassette review of the 1972 "Timex All-Star Swing Festival" from NBC, he calls it "priceless."

One hopes its not only because so many of the jazz stars appearing (Benny, Duke, Count, Bigard, Hackett, Krupa, Tyree, Desmond) are deceased. Do jazz stars have to pass on to be enjoyed?

Feather's 1972 Calendar review just before the show aired was something between a pan and a pooh-pooh. Benny and his Original Quartet had never appeared together on TV, but Feather said, "in yet another reunion of his quartet," and also called the hour, in terms of jazz content, "a zero"--even afraid to use the word jazz in the show's title.

As the creator, sole writer, namer of the show, and picker of every band, group, sideman and 90% of the tunes of this Peabody- and Christopher Award-winning special, I have wondered why a critic who had fought so hard for jazz on TV should have, the week this show aired, gone after such a program with such a major hatchet?

Well, we're now "priceless"--but according to Mr. F, the price is $29.95 and available at (203) 968-4000, wherever that is. Yet when the show was for free , it wasn't so priceless. Thanks, Rip.

DONALD ROSS

Beverly Hills

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