Matt Wilson is omnipresent in the jazz world. The veteran drummer leads four groups — the Matt Wilson Quartet, the Christmas Tree-O, the Arts and Crafts Quartet and the Carl Sandburg Project, a quintet performing pieces set to its namesake’s poetry — in addition to working as a sideman on innumerable projects, including groups led by Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden and Lee Konitz. In addition to nine studio albums as a leader, Wilson has been featured on more than 250 records as a sideman while winning polls in, and gracing the covers of Jazz Times and Downbeat magazines.
As a musician, Wilson has been praised for his ability to draw from a vast catalogue of jazz styles and techniques and for his surprisingly melodic approach to percussion. His numerous original compositions and arrangements similarly incorporate a multitude of influences, achieving an effect — often whimsical but always daring and inventive — that defies classification.

Along with his work as a composer, bandleader and performer, Wilson is equally well known as a tenacious advocate for jazz, conducting hundreds of workshops, private lessons and lectures each year while maintaining a full performance schedule. His dedication to the promotion of jazz has earned him the respect of musicians and critics and resulted in his performing alongside greats including Herbie Hancock and Dee Dee Bridgewater at a White House state dinner in 2011.

“There are few more emphatically dazzling drummers today, but almost nobody in Wilson’s peer group with a broader sense of jazz history, or a more natural sense of time, or more goodwill among his fellow players.” – Nate Chinen,

Born in the prairie town of Knoxville, Illinois in 1964, Wilson went to Wichita State University and worked with Dr. JC Combs, a major influence.  After obtaining his B.M. in 1986, Wilson moved to Boston with his late wife Felicia, where he worked with keyboardist John Medeski, vocalist Dominique Eade and saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase. Wilson worked with Russ Gershon’s celebrated Either/Orchestra, from 1987 to 1992. He has since lived in New York.

Matt has been an integral part of bands led by John Scofield, Bob Stewart, Denny Zeitlin, Ron Miles, Marty Ehrlich, Ted Nash, Jane Ira Bloom and Dena DeRose among others.

His Quartet includes: Jeff Lederer, reeds, Kirk Knuffke, cornet and Chris Lightcap, bass. The New York Times calls the group,  “One of the best working bands in New York City.”

William Parker