In his sledgehammer job on the L.A. Voices in their world premiere at the Hollywood Bowl with Mel Torme and Artie Shaw ("Torme, Shaw Show Care in Nostalgia," July 26), Leonard Feather wrote:

"But creativity went out the window when Flory became one-fifth of L.A. Voices, a vocal quintet with a bland blend. This segment only came alive when four members shut up and Sue Raney sang alone."

That's not criticism, it's insult, rude and crude.

To suggest that a vocal project I've spent five years on trying to bring the most sophisticated harmony to proven romantic material was uncreative folly? After our first album was nominated for a Grammy?

Feather needs a rest--with lots of people taking care of him, maybe run a few tests. Saliva, brain scan, the works. But if he hasn't gone bonkers, there are three possibilities.

1--He's right. But why then all the applause, and all those people backstage, in the business and out, grabbing my hand and raving about the Voices, some with tears in their eyes? And why such lovely reviews from other critics?

2--He's wrong. This music is not designed to out-hip Manhattan Transfer or any other group. The concept is Romantic Jazz, with Raney singing a deceptively uncomplicated lead line under which is woven the most imaginative harmony I can invent, and the most difficult to perform. Maybe Feather didn't hear all that was going on.

3--He's vindictive. I would hate to think that's the reason.

I think it's No. 2. They say the legs go first. In Feather's case it was the ears.


North Hollywood

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