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The Giuseppi Logan Quintet

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Audio CD, February 23, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Legendary saxophonist Giuseppi Logan releases his first album in 45 years. Logan recorded two albums for the ESP label in the mid-'60s featuring Eddie Gomez, Don Pullen and Milford Graves; The Giuseppi Logan Quartet and More. The Giuseppi Logan Quintet, recorded in late 2009, reunites Logan with two of his closest collaborators from the '60s, pianist Dave Burrell and drummer Warren Smith. Also joining him are Francois Grillot on bass, and Matt Lavelle, trumpet and bass clarinet. The album features five brand new original Logan compositions, and several standards. Logan maintains a rigorous live schedule with his group, including his famed steady solo gig in the NW corner of Tompkins Square Park, NYC.

Review

When Giuseppi Logan resurfaced just over a year ago, after having been absent from the jazz scene for nearly forty years, a comeback seemed unlikely. Homeless at the time, Logan could often be found playing for tips in Tompkins Square Park on a pawn shop alto sax - not the most prestigious gig in New York. He had just started playing again after decades away from the music, and with other priorities (such as finding a permanent place to live) taking center stage, a jazz comeback seemed a steep hill to climb for the 75 year old multi-instrumentalist and composer.

Record producer Josh Rosenthal didn't think so, however, and for this album he's pulled out all the stops, bringing together an all-star quintet to back Logan on eight tracks, five of which are Giuseppi Logan originals. Pianist Dave Burrell and drummer Warren Smith are colleagues of Logan's from his glory days with ESP when he recorded the albums The Giuseppi Logan Quartet and More. Also on the disk is talented trumpeter and bass clarinetist Matt Lavelle, a man who's been a strong supporter of Logan since his reemergence, and Francios Grillot, a go-to bassist for both free and mainstream jazz.

From the opening track "Steppin'" Logan seems to be be picking up where he left off when he vanished without a trace from the jazz scene nearly forty years ago. Logan's compositons have stark yet dynamic quality, and his quintet on this recording seems to revel in the opportunity for atonal exploration that these songs provide. Dave Burrell's attack on the keys is both gritty and elegant, and Grillot and Warren provide a fluidity that is central to the album. Matt Lavelle's bell clear tone on the trumpet, and his unique bass clarinet style provide perfect foil for Logan's raw alto sound. Logan's approach to the ballad on "Around" shows his uncompromising attack hasn't lost any bite, and his interpretations of standards on this disk such as "Over the Rainbow", "Blue Moon" (on piano) and the Miles Davis Composition "Freddie Freeloader" show his singular approach to atonality. Unlike the many followers of Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler who pepper the jazz scene today, Giuseppi Logan has truly forged his own style.

This album puts Logan's sound from the '60s in a new context, and may be the coup de grace that he has always needed to silence critics of free-jazz who have made him a target. On this new album Logan's distinctive tone on the the alto is transported unaltered from his '60s heyday, intact and pristine. Likewise, the uncompromising iconoclasm of Logan's compositional style, which defines the album, seems to have made the trip without a mark. The resurrection of such a distinct artistic style after nearly forty years in hibernation is no small feat. Logan's ability to do so shows a determined artistic vision. -- Tim Madison, www.JazzReview.com


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 23, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Tompkins Square
  • ASIN: B0033AX24A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #499,066 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By phil morse on April 22, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album after reading a New York Times article about how Giuseppe Logan had been re-discovered in Thompson Park. After the glowing article I expected better on first hearing. I came here looking for reviews because I thought maybe someone could tell me what's going on... I decided to pan it, but...

I listened again. If you are looking for something to put on while you do other things, look elsewhere. If you are into musicality you will find this interesting. I'm withholding a star because it feels like the group needs to work together more. Also, the piano playing of Don Burell, while he has his moments, (his work on Stepping is brilliant in it's stumbling and tripping complexity) can be irritating in it's stridence. I get the feeling that sometimes he relies on force as a substitute for substance.

The bass and drums of Francois Gillot and Warren Smith, on the other hand, hold the tunes together both harmonically and rhythmically and the trumpet and bass clarinet work of Matt Lavelle fit nicely into this context.

Logan's playing is loose, very loose, except on piano where he shines, especially on Blue Moon. Otherwise, he wanders. He lets his tone go flat. On his trek through Over the Rainbow you feel that were it not for Gillot and Smith he'd be over the rainbow too. But they hold the line and the thing works. On Bop Blues you feel Logan's technical limitations. It's like listening in soft focus, but again, here is where musicality can trump technical prowess. Logan has authenticity to burn. You will never hear this tune played this way by Wynton Marsalis.

Freddie the Freeloader reminded me of the Beethovan project where they recorded an orchestra comprised of untrained musicians doing the Fifth.
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