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Wendell Logan, Jazz Composer and Educator, Dies

Logan brought jazz to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music

Wendell Logan of Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Wendell Logan of Oberlin Conservatory of Music

The storied composer and educator Wendell Logan, who founded the Department of Jazz Studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, died at the Cleveland Clinic June 14. His death came just six weeks after dedication of the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building, an innovative, ultramodern structure on the Oberlin campus dedicated to jazz studies. Logan, who was 69, attended opening ceremonies featuring entertainment by Stevie Wonder and Bill Cosby there May 1 and at least got a chance to see the office where he was scheduled to keep hours befitting his status as Chairman of Jazz Studies and Professor of African-American Music. The lobby of the high-tech, $24-million Kohl Building is named after him.

Born Nov. 24, 1940 in Thomson, Ga., Wendell Morris Logan arrived in the northeast Ohio college community in 1973, when jazz was an extracurricular activity; the focus was on classical music. In 1989, after Logan designed its curriculum, jazz became a major. Two years later, Oberlin rules were rewritten to allow students to enroll on the basis of jazz talent. Now, the jazz faculty there spans eight professors including such luminaries as the saxophonist Gary Bartz, the guitarist Bobby Ferrazza, and trumpeter Marcus Belgrave.

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