Legendary jazz musician Giuseppi Logan has died at the age of 84 from the COVID-19 coronavirus. Logan’s musical partner and longtime friend, Matt Lavelle, confirmed his death to jazz radio station WBGO.
Logan died on Friday, April 17, in Far Rockaway, Queens at the Lawrence Nursing Care Center. Lavelle confirmed that the musician’s death was due to the coronavirus. Logan was known as a master of many instruments, including the saxophone, clarinet and flute.
Logan is from Philadelphia and he was born on May 22, 1935, and he is survived by his two sons, Jaee and Joe.
Giuseppi Logan Was a Part of the Free Jazz Movement in the 1960s
The self-taught musician was a New York free jazz staple in the 1960s. He collaborated with some of the brightest talents of the era, including Bill Dixon, Archie Shepp and Pharoah Sanders.
According to WBGO, when Logan arrived in New York in 1964, he played in The October Revolution in Jazz festival with artists including Dixon and Cecil Taylor. A few weeks later, he released The Giuseppi Logan Quartet, which included collaborations with Milford Graves, Eddie Gomez and Don Pullen.
Logan then came out with his second album, More, in 1965. It was recorded live at The Town Hall.
Logan Disappeared From the Music Industry for 40 Years Because of Addiction & Mental Health Issues
More would be the last album he released for 45 years as Logan disappeared from the music industry in the 1970s. The New York Times reported that Logan was out of sight for three decades, and in a 2012 interview, he said, “My wife had me put in a mental institution. She said I was an addict.”
Logan was institutionalized in Virginia multiple times, and he also lived on the streets of Norfolk, Va. for years. According to The New York Times report, Logan took drugs to enhance his music.
He said, “I prefer weed over any type of drug. Music goes in my mind if I’m smoking weed. Whatever music you have in your mind you can centralize it, focus on it. It lifts your brow up, because you have a deeper concentration.”
Logan said, “I was away for 30 years. I lost everything I had. I believe if I had stayed in New York I wouldn’t be poor like I am.”
In the 2012 report, Milford Graves spoke to The New York Times and said he thought Logan was dead. After their musical collaboration, Graves saw Logan on the streets playing his flute and asking for money. Graves said, “I thought it was coming, some kind of breakdown. He was always on the edge. New York was too much for him.”
Logan Returned to New York in 2008 & Restarted His Music Career
In 2008, Logan, who was collecting disability benefits, left Norfolk with his saxophone for New York. He made his musical comeback in 2009 with the aid of Matt Lavelle.
Lavelle told WBGO that he noticed Logan in a New York music shop, and pieced his identity together. He said, “[Logan] was in a place where he was trying to get back to his musical self.” Lavelle helped the musician get back to his musical ways, and Logan played his first show on February 17, 2009.
He then recorded The Giuseppi Logan Quintet in 2010, followed by 2011’s The Giuseppi Logan Project and … And They Were Cool in 2013.