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Wendell Logan

Composer, jazz musician, and music educator Wendell Morris Logan, Ph.D., was born on November 24, 1940, one of three sons born to Dorothy Mae Horton and Simuel Morris Logan. Logan completed his elementary and secondary school education at the McDuffie County Training School and the R.L. Norris High School. Logan earned his bachelor’s of science degree in music from Florida A & M University in 1962, his master’s of music degree from Southern Illinois University in 1964, and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1968. In 1994, Logan was a fellow at the Rockefeller Study Center in Bellagio, Italy.

Logan taught public school in 1963 and worked as a teaching assistant while completing the requirements for his Ph.D. in Iowa. Logan served on the faculties of Ball State University from 1967 to 1969; Florida A & M University from 1969 to 1970; and Western Illinois University from 1970 to 1973. Logan accepted the invitation to develop a program in African American music in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he went on to serve as the Chair of Jazz Studies and professor of African American music.

As a musician, Logan performed throughout the United States and in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. Logan’s music was recorded on several labels, including Orion, Golden Crest, University of Michigan Press, Morehouse College Press, and RPM Records. Logan received numerous prizes and awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ohio Arts Council, ASCAP Awards, a Guggenheim Award, the Cleveland Arts Prize, and the Lakond Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Later compositions of Logan’s included “Doxology Opera: The Doxy Canticles” and “Ask Your Mama.”

Logan and his wife Betty raised two children, Wendell Jr. and Philecia; they also had one granddaughter, Karen.

Logan passed away on June 15, 2010.

Accession Number

A2005.136

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/13/2005

Last Name

Logan

Maker Category
Middle Name

Morris

Organizations
Schools

R .L. Norris High School

McDuffie County Training School

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Southern Illinois University

American Conservatory of Music

University of Iowa

First Name

Wendell

Birth City, State, Country

Thomson

HM ID

LOG01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Kingston, Jamaica, Brazil

Favorite Quote

Be Prepared.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

11/24/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

6/15/2010

Short Description

Music professor, jazz saxophonist, and music composer Wendell Logan (1940 - 2010 ) developed a program in African American music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, in addition to serving on the faculty at Ball State University, Florida A & M University, and Western Illinois University. Logan also had an accomplished career composing and performing.

Employment

Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin College

Western Illinois University

Florida A & M University

Ball State University

Favorite Color

Sky Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wendell Logan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wendell Logan lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wendell Logan describes his parents' family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wendell Logan describes his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wendell Logan describes his maternal family's migration to Kanas City, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wendell Logan remembers the Asian population of Greenville, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wendell Logan describes how his parents met in Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Wendell Logan talks about his father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Wendell Logan describes his parents' move to Georgia and his mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Wendell Logan recalls his brothers and jazz music in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Wendell Logan remembers attending school in Thomson, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Wendell Logan recalls the civil rights era

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Wendell Logan describes the sights and sounds of growing up in Thomson, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Wendell Logan describes his introduction to music

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wendell Logan recalls his early musical influences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wendell Logan describes his experience as a music major at Florida A&M University

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wendell Logan describes the sights and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wendell Logan describes his experiences at Florida A&M University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wendell Logan recalls teaching near Kincheloe Air Force Base in Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Wendell Logan talks about his family

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Wendell Logan describes pursuing his Ph.D. degree in music at the University of Iowa

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Wendell Logan describes transitioning from performing to composing music

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Wendell Logan describes his doctoral project at the University of Iowa

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Wendell Logan describes his mentors and the development of his musical style

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wendell Logan reflects upon developing his style as a composer

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wendell Logan describes establishing a jazz department at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wendell Logan describes Oberlin Conservatory of Music's African American studies program in music

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Wendell Logan reflects upon African American music

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Wendell Logan describes his composition 'Ask Your Mama'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Wendell Logan reflects upon the reception to his musical compositions

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Wendell Logan describes his experience on tour in Nigeria and Brazil

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Wendell Logan reflects upon his career goals and the absence of black students at Oberlin College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wendell Logan reflects upon the lack of musical education for African American youth

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wendell Logan describes outreach efforts at Oberlin Conservatory of Music

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Wendell Logan describes his work with the Gullah people of Georgia and South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Wendell Logan describes the Gullah tradition of ring shouts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Wendell Logan describes the inspiration for his composition 'Gullah Island Suite'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Wendell Logan describes his mentor, Professor Richard Hervig

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Wendell Logan reflects upon his achievements

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Wendell Logan reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Wendell Logan reflects upon challenges for aspiring young musicians

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Wendell Logan describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wendell Logan names his musical compositions available on CD

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wendell Logan provides a bibliography of materials about African American musicians

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Wendell Logan describes his introduction to music
Wendell Logan reflects upon developing his style as a composer
Transcript
Professor Logan [HistoryMaker Wendell Logan], at the end of the last segment you had just started to tell us about some of the sounds and smells and sights that reminded you of growing up in Georgia, and you talked about your introduction to the trumpet around the age eleven.$$Um-hm.$$So would you like to tell us a little bit more about this? You said your father [Simuel Logan] had instruments all over the house.$$Well yeah that's what I can remember. Earlier if I said something you asked what did my dad teach and I said that's very difficult to say what he taught. Anyway my dad started the first music program in the schools there. We had a music program before the white schools did and he started the first music program there. Don't ask me how he got all of these instruments but somehow he had some arrangements with a guy, [A.J.] Schneider Music Company in Augusta, Georgia, and my dad had all of these instruments (laughter) that I guess he had, he had put himself in hock for. But the school [McDuffie County Training School, Thomson, Georgia] had a, had a music program and that's the beginning of of my music training there. He was not a musician by, by training but certainly he was a pretty good you know musician, self-taught yeah. But that was the beginning of my music training. And this is what I meant when I said there were a lot of instruments around the house, various ones you know. You could just pick something and if you wanted to play it and it was there. So that was, that was the beginning of it. And therefore when these musicians would come like Little Richard, James Brown and all of that I would go out and you know talk with the musicians and all and try to sit and those guys let me sit in with them, the Willie Liggins band [sic. Joe Liggins and the Honeydrippers] who had the arrangement of, of 'Stardust.' I told him that I knew, I knew that tune started out as, "Doo, da, bah, bah, boo bah bah bah boo, bee, bee, bee" and so yeah I was there and they had you know they had another arrangement and all that and I said well this is for me. This is what I want to do and I was eleven years old and I decided then that's what I always wanted to do and I knew that when I was eleven years old I knew that I would be a musician yeah.$Professor Logan [HistoryMaker Wendell Logan] you mentioned just a little while ago that Richard Hervig was someone who suggested to you that you draw on your rich musical background as inspiration for your new compositions. Okay and can you tell me how you went about combining the various musical influences and what the product was in those early days.$$I don't even know how I go about combining but you know it sometimes it's sometimes its quoting; it's, it's a quotational kind of thing where you quote the rhythmic outline or the melodic outline of of a pre-existing kind of melody. It would be on a spiritual or the blues you know. Sometimes it's about that. Sometimes it's not that, but you write something and in the, in the style of you know in the style of something that is pre-existing. So you know it takes on very (unclear) it's done in various ways. And then sometimes you look at various kinds of texts and look at what those things suggest to you. A favorite quote of mine is Robert Hayden and I'm always, I read a lot of poetry but Robert Hayden, Robert Hayden's poetry says a lot to me because it's, it's so well-crafted and he says a lot of things that are not so obvious. And he was a man who would really criticize during his time for not being black enough. And if you read that poetry yeah and you'll say hey man you know this guy was talking about man he chronicles the black experience you know. But it's just not obvious and it's not angry in many, in many ways you know but it's very, very well-crafted. And another person that whose poetry turns me on is a guy by the name of M.B. Tolson [Melvin B. Tolson], T-O-L-S-O-N and I look at a lot of stuff that he was writing prior to E.E. Cummings. There were a lot of things that he was doing you know but sometimes you look at the things that people like that have written and has a lot of information there as to--they suggest a lot of things. There's a lot of musical stuff there in terms of pacing, in terms of imagery, in terms of suggestions for sounds and all that yeah so these are some of the ways that I, I've been able to you know combine some things and then there's some things that's just out and out jazz you know, just the blues you just blow them out and hey I'm not afraid to go there at all either you know and so you, you go there you know there's some of the things that they're about the dance, dance steps and all of that you know and I'm not afraid to go there in terms of in terms of doing things yeah. You know the year before during my real younger days there were some of the things you know so I know that's too obvious to go there and all of that. You know you're writing all this erudite music and nobody was listening you know except your friends you know. Oh yeah, that's real I know. And I said well you know the things that I don't have anything to prove to anybody. I know I can write music and I know I can write at a high level and the only thing that I can do is to just try to express myself the best way I know how and have some fun doing this. So, that's what I try to do you know. However it comes out you know it's, it's about me you know that's what it's about and the black experience, something from experience.