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Giuseppi Logan Giuseppi Logan

Logan leaves behind a small body of recorded work, but his standing in the improvised avant-garde is considerable. He emerged just as free jazz was beginning to crest as a movement, and even amidst a crowded field of iconoclasts, he distinguished himself as an original.

In 1964, shortly after his arrival in New York, he participated in The October Revolution in Jazz, alongside artists like trumpeter Bill Dixon and pianist Cecil Taylor. Several weeks later he recorded The Giuseppi Logan Quartet for ESP- Disk, with impeccable partners: pianist Don Pullen, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Milford Graves.

Logan’s second album, More, was recorded live at The Town Hall during a concert of ESP-Disk artists on May 1, 1965. (The same concert yielded saxophonist Albert Ayler’s classic Bells.) His group worked often over the next year or two, notably on a college tour organized by the label; he also appears, playing flute, on College Tour, by the avant-garde vocalist Patty Waters.

In performance, Logan would not only play saxophone and flute but a range of other instruments, with varying degrees of technical facility. Reactions were mixed, with many “New Thing” converts on one end of the spectrum; the other end held a good many detractors, including the bulk of jazz’s critical establishment.

Whitney Balliett, reviewing a performance at Judson Hall for The New Yorker, noted that Logan and his band “had the air of mediums possessed.” That furious intensity wasn’t a turn-on, as Balliett made painfully clear. “Logan’s sheer dexterity masks sly sins,” he wrote, and proceeded to enumerate a few:

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