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Leonard Feather

October 01, 1994

It's been said that a "good" critic is someone who likes what you like. If that's the case, two of my best friends have been Charles Champlin and Leonard Feather.

Few if any have had the jazz roots, musical knowledge and ability to articulate that Feather had.

In the late '50s, I would catch his radio show while baby-sitting. Audio was an even better format for one to savor his wisdom while appreciating the elegance of his voice.

In addition, when Feather and I would attend the same performance, he would review it in your paper, and I never had to question whether we observed the same event. He was unerring, whether it was an established name or a rookie.

Often, when we were at the same event, my husband would ask if we could take his photograph. He was always lovely and obliging. One of the last was at the Playboy Jazz Festival in 1994. As always, he stood tall and proud. In his hand was a half-finished ice cream cone.

Mr. Feather, I hope there's a Haagen-Dazs in heaven. You deserve much pleasure for all the pleasure you have brought one grateful jazz enthusiast. Thank you. And like straight-ahead fans everywhere, I promise that the music will be perpetuated.

PHYLLIS SHANOEncino

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