Prison Official Plays His Part With Passion

During the week, Jeff Logan manages the county jail population, but weekends are devoted to jazz and gospel music.
During the week, Jeff Logan manages the county jail population, but weekends are devoted to jazz and gospel music. (By Hamil R. Harris -- The Washington Post)
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By Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jeff Logan spends his days surrounded by the razor wire, cellblocks and inmates of the Prince George's County jail in Upper Marlboro. As assistant chief of the county's Department of Corrections, he is responsible for managing the jail population.

But on weekends, Logan, 43, retreats to a different world, one inhabited by the jazz and gospel music that is his passion.

He is among the many men and women throughout the county who work in government or private industry, performing day jobs that pay the bills and pursuing their music dreams in their spare time. You might catch them at restaurants, nightclubs, churches or special events, full of hope that the right ears will hear them and help launch them into the big time.

Many who have heard Logan perform say national recognition can't be far away for this self-taught jazz artist, who plays piano, guitar, drums, flute and more, and has a page-long list of venues throughout the county and Eastern region where he has performed. Logan released his fifth CD, "Gratitude," in October to coincide with the fifth anniversary of his label, BASS-mint Records, which he started in October 2002 to boost his music and help others along.

"Music is my catharsis, because whether you are someone who is experiencing a joyful occasion or whether you are touched by a sorrow, jazz meets you where you are," Logan said.

Allison Prince, a Montgomery County pupil personnel worker who also pursues music on the side, said she and Logan have been friends since they met as 12-year-olds. They attended the same junior high and high school in Suitland.

"I was trained in classical music, and he was self-taught, and we've always competed," Prince said. "I would be playing Handel's 'Messiah,' and he could play anything our music teacher wanted."

She said he deserves the national spotlight.

"Most of us, when we get into our 40s, we have a day job, but very few people explore their true passion," Prince said. "But he just said: 'You know what? I'm going to do this.' "

Logan, 43, is a 1982 graduate of Suitland High School. While at Suitland, he and a small group of friends formed a rhythm and blues group called Sav'oire, which performed for several years throughout the Washington area. The group placed second runner-up in the Washington Metro Talent Search in 1983 before disbanding a few years later.

Logan, a father of four who lives in Bowie, attended Prince George's Community College and the University of Maryland, from which he received a bachelor's degree in marketing and economics. He continued pursuing music in his spare time, even as he graduated from college and became a Prince George's police officer and received a master's degree from New York-based Nyack College. In 1992, he was promoted to assistant division chief of population management at the county jail.

Whether he is playing the piano in a church or recording tracks in the basement of his home, Logan is consumed with jazz, a genre he hopes to use for much more than entertainment. He said he hopes his music will inspire those who hear it. He frequently plays at cadet graduations and ceremonies that recognize inmates for their accomplishments behind bars.

"Music is not only my speaking voice to the world, but it is the way in which I believe I can minister to others and convey a message without ever saying a word," Logan said.

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