FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andrew R. Chatfield, Press & Marketing Manager
Wesleyan University's Music Department & Center for the Arts presents
Jay Hoggard Quartet
Saturday, April 28 concert concludes the 11th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend
Middletown, Conn.—Wesleyan University’s Music Department and Center for the Arts present a performance by the Jay Hoggard Quartet on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall, located at 50 Wyllys Avenue on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown. A jazz vibraphonist, Mr. Hoggard will be performing with pianist and organist James Weidman and drummer Yoron Israel, who have performed and recorded as an ensemble with Mr. Hoggard for more than fifteen years. The group will be joined by special guests, including Wesleyan Professor of Music and saxophonist Anthony Braxton, percussionist Kwaku Kwaakye Martin Obeng, bassist Santi Debriano, woodwind player Marty Erlich, and harpist Brandee Younger, to perform Mr. Hoggard's compositions. The concert will feature several new works, including the world premiere of Mr. Hoggard's multi-part suite Sonic Hieroglyphs from Wood, Metal, and Skin, dedicated to the inspiration of Wangari Maathai, the late Nobel Peace Prize recipient from Kenya. The group will also perform material from Mr. Hoggard's recent albums (see more information below). The concert will conclude the 11th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend, and is co-sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Institutional Partnerships.
An Adjunct Professor of Music, Mr. Hoggard received both his B.A. and M.A. from Wesleyan University, and has been the director of the Wesleyan University Jazz Orchestra for the past 20 years. Jay majored in the renowned World Music program, and 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. After graduation in 1976, Jay returned to New York City where he was proclaimed "the most dazzling new vibraphonist in jazz" by Robert Palmer in The New York Times.
"Sonic Hieroglyphs from Wood, Metal, and Skin is a suite of four compositions inspired by our human relationship with our Mother, Earth, contrasting the mystical and the mundane in our daily existence," said Mr. Hoggard. "Wangari Maathai was a person who embodied the spirit of 'think globally, act locally' in environmental conservation for her country and for the whole planet. I also have a special emotional attachment to East African marimba musics due to my studies there while an undergrad at Wesleyan."
As a performer, Jay Hoggard has toured the globe to rave reviews. 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."
Mr. Hoggard’s music has touched the hearts and souls of listeners around the world for thirty years. Jay has 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, Jorge Dalto, Terumasa Hino, Dwight Andrews, Geri Allen, Anthony Davis, Henry Threadgill, Vishnu Wood, Chico Freeman, Muhal Richard Abrams, Sherry Winston, and 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.
Mr. Hoggard has performed in many of the finest venues throughout the United States, Africa, Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and Asia. Jay has performed in major venues such as the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Schomberg Center; jazz festivals including St. Lucia, JVC, Montreux, Mt.Fuji, Pori, Hartford and New Haven; and colleges, universities, churches, galleries, libraries, and clubs around the globe. Jay has been featured on NPR and Pacifica Radio. National and international television appearances include ABC Times Square, CBS Sunday Morning, and BETJazz. He also led a quintet on an extensive tour sponsored by the United States government to North Africa, the Middle East and India.
Jay Hoggard has been honored and commissioned as a composer in various contexts. Jay 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. In 2009, Mr. Hoggard 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 Baobob Tree, commissioned by Lincoln Center Out of Doors. And he was commissioned by the Hartford Festival of Jazz to compose La Tierra Hermosa, dedicated to Tito Puente.
Past artists featured as a part of the annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend have included Sherrie Maricle and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, the Bennie Maupin trio with Buster Williams and Billy Hart, Dr. Lonnie Smith with Jonathan Kreisberg, Cedar Walton, Tina Fabrique, the Boston Jazz Repertory Orchestra directed by Bill Lowe and Carl Atkins, the Phil Woods/Ted Rosenthal duo, and Bobby Hutcherson.
Admission for the performance by the Jay Hoggard Quartet is $15 for the general public; $12 for senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, and non-Wesleyan students; and $6 for Wesleyan students. Tickets are available online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa, by phone at (860) 685-3355, or in person at the Wesleyan University Box Office, located in the Usdan University Center, 45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown. Tickets may also be purchased at the door beginning one hour prior to the performance, subject to availability. The Center for the Arts accepts cash, checks written to “Wesleyan University”, and all major credit cards. Groups of ten or more may receive a discount – please call (860) 685-3355 for details. No refunds, cancellations, or exchanges.
As a part of the 11th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend, the Wesleyan Jazz Orchesta, directed by Mr. Hoggard, and the Wesleyan Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jazz Ensemble Coach Noah Baerman, will perform a free concert featuring a program of classic jazz compositions on Friday, April 27, 2011 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall.
About Jay Hoggard
Born in Washington, D.C., 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."
Mr. 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 seamlessly blends jazz and gospel roots with African marimba rhythms. His performance repertoire represents the three B’s of the jazz tradition - blues, bop, and ballads - with original innovations. Songs and extended compositions frame his virtuoso mallet improvisations.
Jay Hoggard has recorded 21 albums as a leader and over 50 as a collaborator. His latest disc, Solo From Two Sides (2009), is a beautiful program of 13 of his compositions performed on both vibraphone and marimba, by way of digital overdubbing.
Soular Power (2008) is an exquisite set of eleven of his compositions and one jazz standard. As Mr. Hoggard says, this album "has the feel of a live performance with the benefit of studio quality sound. New tunes are combined with others that have evolved in performance over the years. 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.” Soular Power swings with great sonic balance among its instruments and artists. The ensemble's performances here are of a caliber that can only be delivered by long associated, empathetic collaborators.
Swing 'Em Gates (2007) is a tribute to the late vibraphone grand master Lionel Hampton. “Eight of the compositions on this recording are tunes that I played when Lionel Hampton sent me to sub for him with his band in the 1990’s. 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 Jay's composition of the same name, as well as the direction of this musical tribute to Hampton in Hoggard’s musical voice. The recording features stellar performances by top New York collaborators with a guest appearance by piano master Dr. Billy Taylor on three tunes.
For more information about Jay Hoggard, please visit
About the Music Department
The Wesleyan University Music Department provides a unique and pioneering environment for advanced exploration committed to the study, performance, and composition of music from a perspective that recognizes and engages the breadth and diversity of the world's musics and technologies. As an integral part of one of the nation's leading liberal arts institutions, the department has enjoyed an international reputation for innovation and excellence, attracting students from around the globe since the inception of its visionary program in World Music four decades ago.
Recent annual music festivals in partnership with the Center for the Arts have brought to campus a diverse array of artists, including Max Roach, Pete Seeger, Zakir Hussain (India), Thomas Mapfumo (Zimbabwe), Boukman Eksperyans (Haiti), and Boogsie Sharpe (Trinidad).
A recording studio, a computer and experimental music studio, the Center for the Arts media lab and digital video facility, the World Instrument Collection (which includes the David Tudor Collection of electronic musical instruments and instrumentation) and the Scores and Recordings Collection of Olin Library (which includes the World Music Archives) offer many learning opportunities outside of the classroom.
For more information about the Music Department, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/music/.
About the Performing Arts Series
The Performing Arts Series at the Center for the Arts brings a wide array of world-class musicians, cutting-edge choreography, and groundbreaking theater performances and discussions to Wesleyan University.
This season's performances include the 13th annual DanceMasters Weekend Showcase Performance (March 10), the Connecticut premiere of Chunky Move: Connected (March 30 & 31), the Fernando Otero Quartet (April 14), and the 11th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend featuring the Jay Hoggard Quartet (April 28). For more information, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa.
Save 10% when you buy tickets to four or more Performing Arts Series events. Call or visit the Wesleyan University Box Office at (860) 685-3355 to take advantage of these discounts.
About the Center for the Arts
Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts is an eleven-building complex on the Wesleyan campus that houses the departments of art and art history, dance, film studies, music, and theater. Opened in 1973, the CFA serves as a cultural center for the region, the state and New England. The Center includes the 400-seat Theater, the 260-seat Hall, the World Music Hall (a non-Western performance space), the 414-seat Crowell Concert Hall and the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery.
The Center for the Arts gratefully acknowledges the support of its many generous funders and collaborators, including the Center for Creative Research, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New England Foundation for the Arts, as well as media sponsors the Hartford and New Haven Advocates, WESU 88.1FM, and WNPR.
For more information about Center for the Arts performances and events, please call (860) 685-3355, or visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa.
# # #
Photo courtesy of Santina Aldieri.