Feather, one of the world's most prominent jazz critics died of pneumonia, yesterday at the age of 80. He grew up in England and moved to America in 1940. His most important writing was his encylopedia of jazz, an essential reference work of musician bios. Feather spent his final months editing a new edition, which is scheduled for publication next year. Feather also produced about 200 recording sessions, composed for many of the musicians he worked with, and even played piano on some of their sessions.
British music critic and producer Leonard Feather worked with fellow producer John Hammond to desegregate jazz in the United States, as well as to promote women jazz musicians. In his new book, The Jazz Years, he considers how racism, radio stations and record labels affected the popularity of different styles like big band and bebop.