From the U. of Idaho:
As part of this year’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, the University of Idaho has released the Leonard Feather Blindfold Tests Collection, a new collection of recorded interviews with jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie conducted by the British born jazz journalist and Bebop enthusiast Leonard Feather. They form a small, but important, part of the library’s International Jazz Collections, the premiere archive of historical jazz materials in the Northwest.
The new collection focuses on a particular style of interview Feather utilized called a Blindfold Test. In a Blindfold Test, a subject is asked to listen to a piece of music by another artist. The subject is then asked to express their thoughts on the style and quality of the performance. In Feather’s interviews, the subject often asserts that the performer must be of a particular gender or race, only to find their prediction incorrect when the record’s identity is revealed. Consequently, these interviews helped to breakdown preconceived notions of music, race and gender in the jazz world.
Feather originally created the Blindfold Tests for “Metronome” and “Downbeat” magazines; they later become a regular segment on his radio show “Platterbrains.” Several of the musicians interviewed for this collection have performed at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in the past.
The collection consists of 41 interviews in total, each running around an hour long. The digitization and web design for the project was conducted by librarians and staff in the Special Collections & Archives and Digital Initiatives departments.
Listen to the Interviews Online: Direct to Leonard Feather Blindfold Tests Collection