UI Library Releases ‘Blindfold Test’ Collection as part of Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

Wednesday, February 19 2014

MOSCOW, 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.

The UI Library’s Special Collections and Archives department specializes in the acquisition, preservation, and use of research materials that document the cultural and environmental history of Idaho, and to a lesser degree that of the region. The library’s Digital Initiatives department works to preserve, create, and make accessible collections from the library, the university, and the state via its digitization, database and digital archiving services.

Questions and comments about the collection may be directed to the digital initiatives librarian, Devin Becker, at dbecker@uidaho.edu.


Contact: Beth Canzoneri, University of Idaho Library, (208) 885-6066(208) 885-6066, bcanzoneri@uidaho.edu

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.