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The Blindfold Test
Leonard invented the Blindfold Test, in which artists would give their opinion about records played without being told what they were. An actual blindfold was used for the first series of pictures, and eventually discarded, though not before some classic poses were snapped (Red Norvo using a monogrammed handkerchief; pianist Buddy Weed smoking a pipe with his blindfold on; Ellington - in lounging pajamas in his dressing room - lying on a couch with a washcloth over his eyes, and pointing ceilingward as he declares "That guy is gone!" of a Jazz at the Philharmonic soloist).

Pianist Mary Lou Williams was a perfect first choice, recognizing many of the selections. She gave high marks to Herman's band, but felt a Jelly Roll Morton track had "no beat at all . . . can't even imagine how they danced to it." In further Blindfold Tests, Sarah Vaughan liked Peggy Lee but was unimpressed by Bessie Smith; Nat Cole thought Lennie Tristano was Andre Previn; Roy Eldridge bet Leonard he could tell a musician's color by listening; and Jack Teagarden said he'd never cared for Duke. The results of the Tests were seldom boring.

Read Mary Lou Williams' Blindfold Test
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