Primary Instrument: Trumpet
If River Rouge, Michigan native Guymon Ensley Hoggatt had his way, he would have had a trumpet stuck in his jibs even before he was born. However, Henry Ford Hospital didn't offer music lessons with prenatal care at the time, neither did Northrup Elementary School . . . not until the fourth grade anyway. The trumpet was his instrument of choice even earlier, when his parents Lloyd and Gertrude Hoggatt bought him his first toy trumpet, clad in a thin cardboard carrying case which he proudly carried with him on the first day to school after Christmas vacation was over. The other boys brought toy cap guns and monster robots and the like.
It seems that music was always going to be Guy’s career choice even when he was a student at River Rouge High School. “I really wasn’t that good at anything else. I always had a love for music, and it came fairly easily to me. At an early age in his basement with his school issued cornet, he pretended to be the lead trumpet player in Earl Van Dyke’s Motown Review Orchestra while playing along with the LIVE IN LONDON Temptations album, as well as other tunes from that era. He also admired trumpeter Doc Serverensen of the Tonight Show Band and Hugh Monsquella, composer of “GRAZING IN THE GRASS. Admiring these noted musicians were kept on the down low though, because formal music studies took the front seat while in high school.
The form and direction of Guy’s musical career changed over time. While attending Western Michigan University, he attended his first Jazz Lab Band class for the first time and then, it was on! About the same time, he joined the R&B group, ASIKARI, and for two years, he got a taste of that jazzy “front line horn section, Earth Wind & Fire and Kool & the Gang action.” It rocked!
A career change took Guy's life in an entirely different direction before he picked up his horn again. When he did, he worked as a studio musician for many years and performed with several local R&B and big bands, playing lead and solo trumpet. He hooked up with the R&B band, LYFE, led by guitarist Eddy Senay, of Sussex Records. During a musically thin time, he wrote and continued performing his works with local ensembles. It wasn’t until 1999, when he decided to focus entirely on music, classic jazz for the most part. He sought assistance and was referred to saxophonist, Sam Sanders. Sam's studies were concentrated on jazz improvization, classic jazz and bebop. Sam would not be bothered with anyone but those who were serious. He started with the pure basics of the dominate seventh chord changes and insisted that you complete certain phases before moving to the next. If you were to return to a weekly lesson without having it right, he’d lean back with that Sam Sanders grin and that’s all you’ll have to see, to know that you’d better have it right the next time. It was so intense, that it was necessary to put almost everything on the back burner and bring forward, the techniques and exercises that he prescribed.” Guy continued studies with noted musicians, Marcus Belgrave, Rayce Biggs and Wendell Harrison.
For the months that followed, Guy performed with bands of various genres, from Latin Jazz to R&B and from Big Band to chamber ensembles and solo performances with piano accompaniment. But like a magnet, classic jazz and be-bop kept pulling on him. In 2001, on the advice of veteran drummer and educator, Charlie Bannister, Guy formed his band, GEQ the (Guymon Ensley Quintet). At a time when jazz groups are short lived, GEQ is still kickin’ it out. Since the release of their first CD entitled, HERE PUT THIS ON, in August of 2003, the band has four major tours under their belt . . . on the bill with such internationally known artist as Yolanda Adams, Jefferey Osborn, The Isley Brothers, The Whispers and Frankie Beverly.
In February, 2006, Guy released his first solo CD entitled MEET GUYMON ENSLEY. The extended play work bares four hot contemporary jazz songs, three of which are Guy's compositions.
Guymon Ensley received a nomination during the 2006 Detroit Music Awards for OUTSTANDING JAZZ COMPOSER and OUTSTANDING JAZZ INSTRUMENTALIST.
GETZEN - Custom Renaissance, B flat Trumpet - "SAM"
GETZEN - Custom Series, 3895 Fluegel Horn - "TONI"
GETZEN - Eterna, Fluegel Horn - "WENDY"
GETZEN - Eterna, 994 Bass Trumpet -"SCOAGIE"
E. M. WINSTON - B flat Pocket Trumpet -"THE GHERK"
E. M. WINSTON - B flat/A flat Piccolo Trumpet - "HARTFORD"
SAMSON - Airline, UHF Wireless System