“What we play is life!” Louis Armstrong
Dedicated to Dewayne Hogans
By maintaining an aggressive path of musical study and professional achievement, W. Lee Hogans has fashioned a distinct musical style. He formed his own band Pursuance in 2004. His songs, featuring strong grooves with catchy melodies, encompass the worlds of Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Soul. Stylistic influences range from Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard to James Brown and Run DMC. Pursuance’s album The Vibe Orientation debuted in 2005; it has received airplay on XM Radio and is available on iTunes and other formats. Later this year his second album What We Play is Life will hit the market. Pursuance has dazzled audiences at many destination venues throughout New York and New Jersey, including the Blue Note, Groove, and Cecil’s Jazz Club.
His performance career gained notoriety by working with giants in the entertainment industry. Lee is currently touring with Grammy-winning bassist Marcus Miller on his Renaissance Tour in the US, Europe and Africa. He’s also on tour with Funk legend Maceo Parker – and school is always in session! In 2009 he was the trumpeter for Jay-Z’s Blueprint III tour, which included playing at President Barak Obama’s Inaugural Ball. He was a member of legendary pop icon Prince and The NPG from 2007-2009. Other tours include Jill Scott, Sean “Diddy” Combs and The Jonas Brothers. TV performances include Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman, The Today Show, Ellen DeGeneres, Kelly and Michael, and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.
Lee's journey as a musician began on a Casio keyboard with his brothers in the basement of his family home in Atlanta. His oldest brother Dewayne was a driving force in the varied musical styles Lee has been drawn to; he exposed Lee to hip hop, rock and r&b music at an early age. Every Saturday the Hogans’ stereo was playing records by everyone from Earth Wind & Fire to John Coltrane to Earl Klugh. Originally drawn to the saxophone, Lee soon found out it was too expensive. Instead his mother suggested a $50 used trumpet bought at a friend’s pawnshop. Immediately he fell in love with the sound. Not long after, a high school buddy gave him a professional horn – a Bach Stradivarius – and his life-long love affair with the trumpet blossomed.
Next stop on his journey was formal music education. While in high school he started a long-term relationship with Danny Harper of the Harper Brothers, who gave him first-hand instruction on theory, improvisation, composition, and technical style. He went on to attend Georgia State University (GSU) and studied classical music under Mark Hughes, who was then principal trumpeter of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Balancing this formal curriculum with essential on-stage experience, Lee began playing at Churchill Grounds, Atlanta’s premier jazz club. He graduated with honors under the direction of Dr. Gordon Vernick, jazz studies director and trumpet professor at GSU. In 2003, he earned a Master’s degree in Jazz Performance from Rutgers University under the guidance of renowned jazz educators William Fielder and Clark Terry.
Lee has made influential moves in his career as a trumpeter-in-demand and producer, diligently making a name for himself in New York City and the tri-state area. When not touring with prominent musicians and performance acts, Lee is in the studio recording and producing songs with such artists as SoNuVo, Felix Peikli, Funktion 11, Mark Ronson, Jadakiss, Fantasia, Missy Elliot, Busta Rhymes, Sheila E, and Prince.