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Jay Hoggard

Primary Instrument: Vibraphone

Born: September 24, 1954    

Jay Hoggard

Jay Hoggard - Vibraphonist / Composer

Vibraphonist Jay Hoggard’s music has touched the hearts and souls of listeners around the world for thirty years. Noted journalist Owen McNally wrote “Jay Hoggard's artistry has a universal quality, an intellectual and emotional resiliency that makes it seem very much at home when creating something new and fresh in every genre from the roots of African music to the outer reaches of the blues ....He is not just one of the premier voices on vibraphone but also one of the top-seeded instrumentalists and composers of the jazz world today.”

Jay Hoggard draws on traditional and contemporary musical vocabulary to develop new directions for the vibraphone. Jay 's music is positive, spiritual, uplifting and happy. He seemlessly 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. Songs and extended compositions frame his virtuoso mallet improvisations. Jay Hoggard has recorded 21 CD’s as a leader and over 50 as a collaborator. His latest disc, SOLO FROM TWO SIDES, released August 1, 2009, is a beautiful program of 13 Jay Hoggard compositions performed by the composer on both vibraphone and marimba, by way of digital overdubbing....
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JHVM LABEL RELEASES FIVE JAY HOGGARD RECORDINGS! by Scott Yanow

A very significant vibraphonist for for over 30 years, Jay Hoggard has long ranked with the greatest innovators of his instrument including Lionel Hampton, Red Norvo, Milt Jackson, Terry Gibbs, Bobby Hutcherson, Gary Burton, Khan Jamal and Walt Dickerson, as well as his contemporaries Steve Nelson, Joe Locke, and Stefon Harris. The release of five of his CDs, including SOULAR POWER and SOLO FROM TWO SIDES, gives listeners an opportunity to experience some of the many sides of this vital musician, and they document the vibraphonist's musical language during the first ten years of the 21st century. This is a major event!

Jay Hoggard, who was born in Washington D.C.,grew up in a religious family in Mt Vernon, New York. He began playing the vibraphone when he was 15. At Wesleyan University in Connecticut he studied in the World Music program including traveling to Tanzania to study firsthand East African xylophone music. Soon after he graduated in 1976, Jay was recognized as an increasingly important force on his instrument, able to display his own voice in settings ranging from the avant-garde to swing, from unaccompanied solo performances to work with a wide variety of all-star performers.

While his work was well documented in the late 1970s, '80s and '90s, by 2003 Jay Hoggard came to the conclusion that it was time for him to own his own music and take charge of documenting his musical dreams. “By then it had become a lot less expensive to make one's own records,” says the vibraphonist. “With the collapse of the record industry, it made perfect sense to have my own label.” Adding to the logic was that Hoggard had stored up many fresh ideas and concepts that deserved to be recorded.

Jay Hoggard's current working band is documented on SOULAR POWER (2008),an exciting release consisting of 11 of his original compositions plus “On A Clear Day.” With James Weidman, Belden Bullock and drummer Yoron Israel inspiring him, Hoggard stakes his claim as one of the major vibraphonists of today, performing music that is full of subtle surprises, covers a wide range of moods, and is never predictable. Among the many highlights are the forceful post bop of “Soular Power,” the touching ballad “You're In My Heart All The Time,” the soulful “Blues Bags,” a catchy boogaloo “Sweet Potato” and the driving “Mystic Winds/Tropic Breezes.” Jay really stretches himself during a set that has the feel of a live recording.

The same can be said for the frequently-stunning SOLO FROM TWO SIDES (2009). Performing unaccompanied on vibraphone and marimba, Jay Hoggard creates music that is hypnotic, intriguing, melodic, thoughtful, surprising and thoroughly original. While a handful of vibraphonists have recorded solo sets in the past (including Gary Burton, Khan Jamal and Walt Dickerson), none have sounded like this. There are many rich melodies (“Kalila's Smile” and “Riverside Dance”are two strong examples), pieces that display the African heritage (“Ujamaa”,”The Golden Ashanti”, and “Rain Forest”) and new spirituals such as “In The Spirit” and “Worship God In Spirit, Truth And Love.” Each of the 13 selections is memorable in its own way. But that is to be expected for Jay Hoggard has developed his own personal voice, both as an improviser and as a composer.

SWING EM GATES (2007) is a tribute to Lionel Hampton which, although featuring some of the songs that Hampton made famous (including “Flying Home,” “Memories Of You” and “Air Mail Special”), finds Jay Hoggard sounding very much like himself. “I crossed paths with Lionel Hampton on a few occasions early in my career including sharing the stage during an all-star concert. He was always very encouraging and inspiring to me, telling me to always be myself in my playing.” So close was their relationship that, when Hampton was ailing later in his career, Hoggard often substituted for him. Swing 'Em Gates has Jay Hoggard swinging his way through standards with the assistance of a trio that on three songs includes the legendary pianist Dr. Billy Taylor.

SONGS OF SPIRITUAL LOVE (2004) is a set of vibraphone-organ/piano duets by Hoggard and James Weidman in which they explore the African American sacred musical vocabulary. “Since I grew up in the Afican Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, I am hard wired for these melodies which are second nature for me.” The emotional versions of such songs as “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” John Coltrane's “Dear Lord,” “His Eye Is On The Sparrow,” and “The Lord's Prayer” are very respectful but also full of exciting melodic improvisations. Especially memorable is a rendition of Hoggard's best known melody, “God Will Guide.”

The earliest of the JHVM releases is THE RIGHT PLACE (2003). Featured with his quintet (the late pianist Hilton Ruiz or James Weidman on piano and organ, bassist Belden Bullock, drummer Pheeroan akLaff and Dwight Andrews on reeds) plus both Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng and Asher DeLerme on percussion, Hoggard performs nine of his originals plus Ruiz' “Guataca.” Highlights include such gems as the upbeat “The Right Place,” the Mid-Eastern feel of “ Joyful Swamp ,” “Startin The Blues En Clave,” the mysterious “Crossing Point,” and the heartfelt “Lessons From My Dad.”

Also of strong interest is SOMETHING “BOUT BELIEVING, a 1999 CD put out by the Twinz Records label and made available from JHVM that features Hoggard (along with Weidman, Bullock and akLaff) performing Duke Ellington's sacred music including “Come Sunday,” “The Shepherd” and “Heaven.” Back in 1967 the youngster accompanied his father to one of Ellington's sacred concerts and the performances changed his life, inspiring him to become a musician and ultimately a major vibraphonist.

The release of these diverse but consistently rewarding CDs are a major event in 21st century jazz. Not only do they feature Jay Hoggard at the peak of his powers, but they add rich melodies and superb vibraphone solos to the legacy of jazz.

For more information about the Jay Hoggard or his recordings, contact Carolyn McClair Public Relations at carolynmcclairpr@aol.com or www.jayhoggard.com.

By Scott Yanow 2-1-10 - JHVM LABEL RELEASES FIVE JAY HOGGARD RECORDINGS! (Feb 1, 2010)

  • The Right Place


    2004
  • A Night In Greenwich Village

    Sunnyside
    1996
  • In The Spirit

    Sunnyside
    1993
  • The Little Tiger

    Sunnyside
    1991
  • Overview

    Sunnyside
    1989
  • Mystic Winds, Tropic Breezes

    Sunnyside
    1982
  • Rain Forest

    Sunnyside
    1981
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