Jay Hoggard

Guest Artist

Jay Hoggard — Guest Artist with the Hartford Jazz Orchestra

Guest Artist

Vibraphonist, Composer Jay Hoggard’s music has touched the hearts and souls of listeners around Planet Earth for 40 years. Jay’s music is positive, spiritual, uplifting, and happy. He masterfully draws on traditional and contemporary musical vocabulary to develop new directions for the vibraphone. Jay seamlessly blends jazz and gospel roots with African marimba rhythms. His performance repertoire represents the three B’s of the jazz tradition (Blues, Bop, Ballads) with original innovations.

Jay Hoggard has long ranked with the greatest vibraphone innovators. He has been one of the most enduring and innovative masters on his instrument since the 1970s. A direct musical descendant of Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson, Lem Winchester, and Bobby Hutcherson, Hoggard’s omni-directional artistry encompasses the myriad musical dimensions of the African Diaspora and its spiritual resonances

Born in Washington, DC, Jay Hoggard was raised in Mt. Vernon, New York in a religious family. His father was a Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion denomination and his mother was an elementary school teacher with an MA in special education. Duke Ellington’s music was a family affair that sparked his career as a musician. “My father was involved in presenting the premiere of the Second Sacred Concert in 1967 at Mother AME Zion Church in Harlem. I was 12,” Hoggard says. “I got to meet Ellington, and that was a life-changing experience. That was before I started playing the vibraphone.”

At age 15, Jay began his pursuit of the vibraphone. “One night I had a dream that I was playing the vibes. I asked my father to rent me a set and from the first moment, I knew that this was what I was supposed to do.” Jay majored in the renown World Music program at Wesleyan University . He toured Europe and played at Carnegie Hall during his freshman year. In his junior year, he traveled to Tanzania to study East African marimba music. Jay graduated from Wesleyan in 1976 and returned to New York City in 1977 to be proclaimed a young lion of the vibraphone.

As a performer, Jay Hoggard has toured the globe to rave reviews. He has performed in many of the finest venues of music presentation throughout the United States , Africa Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and Asia. Jay has performed in major venues (Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Schomberg Center) jazz festivals (St. Lucia. JVC, Montreux, Mt.Fuji, Pori, Hartford), colleges, universities, churches, galleries, libraries, and clubs around the globe. Jay has been featured on radio (NPR, Pacifica) and television (ABC Times Square, CBS Sunday Morning, BETJazz) nationally and internationally. He led a quintet on an extensive tour sponsored by the United States government to North Africa, the Middle East and India. Jay performed in special concert collaborations with vibraphone masters Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson, Tito Puente and Bobby Hutcherson. He has recorded and toured with creative artists such as Kenny Burrell, Dr. Billy Taylor, Max Roach, James Newton, Hilton Ruiz, Oliver Lake, Bennie Maupin, Sam Rivers, Anthony Braxton, Jorge Dalto, Terumasa Hino, Dwight Andrews, Geri Allen, Anthony Davis, Henry Threadgill, Vishnu Wood, Chico Freeman, Muhal Richard Abrams , Sherry Winston, Ahmed Abdullah, and was a guest artist with the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band. Jay has accompanied singers, instrumentalists, and poets and has performed with gospel, theater, dance, percussion, and orchestral ensembles.

Jay Hoggard is a tenured professor at his alma mater Wesleyan University, where for the past 32 years he has directed the Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra and has taught and mentored thousands of student musicians. For him, RAISE YOUR SPIRIT CONSCIOUSNESS is a pathway to a higher awareness of being. “I’m trying to give my audience something that they can immediately grab on to, and then they’ll be challenged to go into another space … that’s what I’m trying to do with this record.”

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