I recently received the word that my buddy G had a new round of health adversity. The stars lined up for me to head on out to check on him. I reached out on social media to see if I could assemble a squad to join him in person to lift his spirits. The only person that could make it was brother Reggie Sylvester who plays drums. I then suddenly realized what G needed more than anything else: to make music with other musicians. I asked Reggie to bring his brushes. I was always worried about making to much sound at his residence, but figured that with a mute in my pocket trumpet Sunspot and with Reggie using brushes even on a phone book or something, we could pull it off with G playing his keyboard. Reggie took it to the next level and brought in a snare drum and stand in a suitcase to disguise our secret mission.
I knew something was different when I arrived, G was already playing keyboard with his headphones on, and really into it. He didn’t know I was coming, and I found him in the mood and health to make some music. Classic G, he told me he had written a new song which I knew was Perdido by Juan Tizol, but he had morphed it into his own vibe and world so much that he could make a case that it was actually something different. Reggie came in and set up and we were off.
William Parker was the first to tell me that G would call a tune, but play a different one. I have experienced this as well. He was still doing that and also doing his thing to play a tune in any key at any time, and change keys throughout. He sometimes also plays bridges from different tunes, also in any key. We did Perdido several times in several different keys when G would just start playing without any discussion. The time and the feeling of the piece was always more like Giuseppi music than anything like the original. So it was, as we ran down Blue Moon, Begin the Beguine, Over the Rainbow, and Four. I brought up the idea of playing free and G went into a whole other mode, finally inventing a new harmony of his creation so we could play a harmolodic version of Laura in about five different keys. This version of Laura we did was really something else. We also engaged in several long blues improvisations where his take on harmony and process was even more apparent. The difference in the whole session was how long he was playing, which for me is 1 million percent because Reggie was there supporting him. The drums truly are everything in jazz, something I have learned, accepted, and embraced. We played for two-three hours. Throughout G was talking about his missing saxophone and that saxophone was his instrument. The piano though as he said, keeps him connected to music, our shared prime directive.
Reflecting on yesterday I can see that what we did was all part of the big picture. G has no phone, no TV, and no newspapers. He is completely free of the Trump show and the millions of ways we are distracted from the the things in life that are truly important. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know who Trump is. The way his memory works, every time I see G he asks if certain people are alive, even Charlie Parker and Albert Ayler. He remembers everything though when you bring it up. He remembers being on a bill with Ornette clearly.
Giuseppi Logan knows the big picture.
The small picture?
In his life there is no such thing
Imagine a world where we could actually join him