(b Rome, fl 1774–99). Italian composer. He was maestro di cappella in the Roman churches of S Cecilia, S Margherita and S Apollonia, all in the Trastevere quarter. In 1774 he became an alto in the papal choir, where he remained until at least 1799. He wrote sacred music in the stile osservato and in the modern style with instrumental accompaniment. He was an excellent composer in both, according to Baini, but also an insignificant one, according to Fellerer.
Feast of Fools [Festum stultorum; Festum fatuorum].
The term in its widest sense covers four separate days within the octave of Christmas on which special celebrations took place. These were presided over by different grades of clergy, as follows: St Stephen’s Day (26 December), deacons; St John the Evangelist’s Day (27 December), priests; Holy Innocents’ Day (28 December), choirboys, known as the feast of the ‘Boy Bishop’; and the Circumcision (1 January), sub-deacons, the ‘Feast of Fools’ itself. This last was a time of allowed if not approved licence in many churches of medieval Europe. The abuses perpetrated were part of a tradition that can be traced back to ancient pagan New Year celebrations, with sacrifices and jubilation in honour of the god Janus.
The quasi-dramatic ceremonies, or ‘revels’, connected with the ‘Boy Bishop’ and the ‘Feast of Fools’ are described in standard books on Medieval drama (see particularly Chambers, 1903, and Young, 1933). The ‘Feast of Fools’ was the occasion on which the celebrated Prose of the Ass (Orientis partibus) was sung. At Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris dissolute behaviour had become excessive by the turn of the 13th century, prompting Bishop Odo of Sully to issue an edict closely prescribing the forms of service.
Most notable among surviving sources for the ‘Feast of Fools’ are F-SEm 46A (ed. Villetard) and the Beauvais ceremonies in the 13th-century manuscript GB-Lbl Eg.2615 (ed. Arlt). The latter also has the Prose and, in another fascicle, apparently associated with the feast, the Play of Daniel; it also contains polyphonic pieces associated with the Nativity season.
JOHN STEVENS/NICKY LOSSEFF
Feather, Leonard (Geoffrey)
(b London, 13 Sept 1914; d Encino, CA, 22 Sept 1994). American writer on jazz, composer and arranger of English birth. He attended St Paul’s School and University College, London (1920–32), studied the piano and the clarinet, and taught himself arranging. He produced recordings and wrote compositions for Benny Carter and George Chisholm in London, Feather travelled to America at the onset of war and was the New York correspondant for Down Beat (1940–41) and then publicist for Barney Josephson’s two Café Society nightclubs (1941–3); he also broadcast on WNEW. He continued to produce recordings, including the first sessions by Dinah Washington (1943) and Sarah Vaughan (1944), Dizzy Gillespie’s 78 r.p.m. album of New 52nd Street Jazz (1946), and sessions involving Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, and Armstrong and Jack Teagarden (1947), and he composed Washington’s hit songs Evil Gal Blues and Salty Papa Blues (both 1943) and Lionel Hampton’s Blowtop Blues (1945). Feather contributed to Metronome from 1943 to 1950 and to Esquire from late 1943 to 1956. In the years 1944 to 1946 he played the central role in the compilation of Esquire’s annual jazz poll, which made a substantial step toward acknowledgeing African-American giants of jazz who had been ignored in analogous polls in Down Beat and Metronome; at the same time he became deeply invovled in an ugly critical battle between adherents of the newly emerging style, bop, and fans of traditional jazz, which he then greatly disliked. Later, in partnership with the disc jockey Symphony Sid Torin, he organized a series of bop concerts at Carnegie Hall (1947–9); he also presented weekly jam sessions at the Three Deuces nightclub on 52nd Street.
In 1948 Feather took American citizenship. He helped Shearing to become established in the USA, and the following year, under the pseudonym Billy Moore, he wrote another hit song for Washington, Baby get lost. With Ellington’s son he established the record company and label Mercer (1950) and he again worked on radio, broadcasting jazz programs on the Voice of America (1950–52); another of his songs from this period, How blue can you get?, was recorded by Louis Jordan in 1951 and became a hit over a decade later when B. B. King make it a standard in his repertory. Later he wrote Born on a Friday (recorded by Cleo Laine), ballads (such as Signing Off, recorded by Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and André Previn), and jazz compositions (including I Remember Bird, recorded by Cannonball Adderley, Phil Woods, and Sonny Stitt, and Twelve Tone Blues, recorded by Yusef Lateef).
From 1951 to 1986 Feather contributed to Down Beat, supplying countless informative surveys and interviews, and conducting popular “blindfold tests,” in which well-known jazz musicians discussed unidentified recordings. His first edition of The Encyclopedia of Jazz was published in 1955; revised in 1960 and then continued in volumes published in 1966 and 1976 (the latter with Ira Gitler as co-author), this three-volume encyclopedia became the standard reference source in the field. In another comprehensive publication. The Book of Jazz: a Guide to the Entire Field (1957, rev. 1965), he surveyed jazz historically and offered essasy on instuments, race, improvisation, and other general topics. During this same period he was wrote articles on jazz for Playboy (1957–62).
In 1960 Feather settled in the Los Angeles area, where he became a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, a position he held for the remainder of his life. He produced a German television series on jazz (1965), published anthologies of essays on jazz, two books of humor, a study of Armstrong (written with John Chilton and Max Jones), and an autobiography. He taught at Loyola Marymount University (1972–4), the University of California, Riverside (1973), California State University, Northridge, and UCLA (1987–8), and, in addition to his ongoing work for Melody Maker, Down Beat, and the Los Angeles Times, he was a regular contributor to Contemporary Keyboard and Jazz Tmes. He is best known as an author of scholarly on jazz and as a columnist; because of his eminence as a writer his musical talent is often overlooked, yet it contributed much to his skilful reviews and articles.
Inside Be-bop (New York, 1949/R as Inside Jazz)
The Encyclopedia of Jazz (New York, 1955, suppl. 1956, enlarged 2/1960/R)
The Encyclopedia Yearbook of Jazz (New York, 1956/R)
The Book of Jazz: a Guide to the Entire Field (New York, 1957, 2/1965 as The Book of Jazz from Then till Now: a Guide to the Entire Field)