The coronavirus has just stolen one of the greats. Jazz legend Giuseppi Logan lost his battle with the coronavirus at a Far Rockaway nursing home this past weekend. He was 84.
Matt Lavelle, a trumpeter and clarinetist who was Logan’s closest musical partner over the last dozen years, shared the news with WBGO jazz radio station.
Logan was a centerpiece of New York’s free jazz movement in the 1960s and collaborated through the Swinging Sixties with other popular icons, including Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders and Bill Dixon.
Not only could he play the saxophone, but the multi-instrumentalist also taught himself how to play bass clarinet, flute, piano and Pakistani oboe.
Like many musicians from that era, Logan went through periods of institutionalization and homelessness throughout the past several decades, forced to sleep in shelters or on the subway. He played his saxophone for change, often in New York City’s Tompkins Square Park in the East Village—where Josh Rosenthal, founder of Tompkins Square Records, would often see him playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Logan made a major comeback in 2009, playing his first show in decades at New York City’s Bowery Poetry Club, before recording an album featuring Francois Grillot, Warren Smith, and former collaborator Dave Burrell. The Giuseppi Logan Quintet album was his final release in 2010.
May he rest well.