Avant-garde saxophonist, pianist, and composer Giuseppi Logan has been a mysterious figure for much of his adult life. He is a self-taught player who began on piano and drums at age 12 before switching to reeds. At 15, he began playing gigs (his most conventional job was with Earl Bostic), and he studied at the New England Conservatory. In 1964, he moved to New York and became closely involved with the free jazz scene. Logan (who played alto, bass clarinet, flute, tenor, piano, and a Pakistani oboe) worked with Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, and Bill Dixon before forming his own quartet. That band, comprising a young Don Pullen, Eddie Gómez, and Milford Graves, appeared at the October Revolution in Jazz in 1964. Later, Logan led a quartet with pianist Dave Burrell and drummer Warren Smith. He was a member of Byard Lancaster's band and toured with Patty Waters. He recorded two compelling sets as a leader for ESP, The Giuseppi Logan Quartet and More. He also made guest appearances on records by Waters and Roswell Rudd. Logan virtually disappeared in the early '70s. Beset by substance abuse problems, he eventually gave up music and spent more than two decades living homeless, in mental institutions, and in shelters. He got sober in the early 21st century and got a low-paying job. He began saving money to buy a new saxophone and to find permanent housing. Given a lightly used trombone by a niece, he traded his savings and the instrument for an alto saxophone and began practicing again. Logan was rediscovered playing a gorgeous rendition of "Begin the Beguine" as part of his daily practice of playing in the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park for tips. Shortly after this discovery, Tompkins Square Recordings label boss Josh Rosenthal wasted no time getting him back into a studio with a working band, comprised of Burrell, Smith, bassist Francois Grillot, and trumpeter/bass clarinettist Matt Lavelle. In September of 2009, Logan recorded The Giuseppi Logan Quintet, which was released in February of 2010; he has resumed playing concerts in and around New York City with a working band, and is still playing his regular day gig in the Park. ~ Thom Jurek
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