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. At age 15, Jay began playing 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.
Jay Hoggard has recorded 21 CD’s as a leader and over 50 as a collaborator. “I am about music that is both aesthetically pleasing for your mind and spirit, and physically healing for your body and soul.” The power of soul is a mystical paradigm of consciousness transformation . Pianist/ organist James Weidman, bassist Belden Bullock, and drummer Yoron Israel have performed and recorded as an ensemble with Jay for more than fifteen years. Their performances are of a caliber that can only be delivered by long associated, empathetic collaborators. Once, when Hamp called me to play for him, I asked what tunes he wanted. He replied, ’Just swing ‘em,gates.’ ” That conversation was the inspiration for Jays’ composition of the same name as well as the direction of this musical tribute to Hampton in Hoggard’s musical voice
Jay Hoggard has been honored and commissioned as a composer in various contexts. In 2009, he was commissioned by dance troupe Sankofa Kuumba and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra to write THE OTHER SIDE OF THE OCEAN and LET ME MAKE IT CLEAR. Previously, Jay collaborated with choreographer Cleo Parker Robinson by composing THE WISDOM OF THE BAOBAB TREE commissioned by Lincoln Center Out of Doors. He was commissioned by the Hartford Festival of Jazz to compose LA TIERRA HERMOSA, dedicated to Tito Puente. He was commissioned by Wesleyan University to compose JOYFUL SWAMP and CROSSING POINT for Max Roach and percussion ensemble, and VIBARIMBALA for symphonic and jazz orchestras.
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 an Adjunct Professor of Music at his alma mater, Wesleyan University. For over 20 years, he has been the director of the Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra and has taught and mentored hundreds of students.
Originally published on jayhoggard.com