gained a strong reputation with his debut recording as a leader, a 1996 set for Palmetto that prominently featured tenor saxophonist
started playing drums in grade school; he studied at Wichita State University and spent time in the Midwest, both as a freelancer and as a teacher. In 1987 he moved to Boston, where he was soon playing with
. In 1992
, and others, appearing on a couple dozen records as a sideman. Headlining dates during the '90s includes 1998's
In 2001, he released Arts & Crafts
, his first album showcasing his Arts & Crafts
ensemble with trumpeter Terell Stafford and pianist Larry Goldings. After releasing another quartet album with 2003's Humidity
returned to his Arts & Crafts
ensemble with 2004's Wake Up! (To What's Happening)
. He stuck with the same group for The Scenic Route
, released in 2007, the same year that Big Picture was issued on the Cryptogramophone label by Trio M, a freewheeling collaborative group featuring Wilson
along with pianist Myra Melford and bassist Mark Dresser.
In 2009, Wilson
returned to his own quartet lineup for That's Gonna Leave a Mark
, followed by the holiday-themed Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O in 2010. A year later, he appeared on the Trio M album Guest House. He then returned to his Arts & Crafts
ensemble with the album An Attitude for Gratitude. In 2014, Wilson
stayed busy pairing with pianist John Medeski for Gathering Call and backing singer/pianist Dena DeRose on We Won't Forget You: An Homage to Shirley Horn. He also joined pianist Denny Zeitlin for Stairway to the Stars.
Tragically, in 2014 Wilson
lost his wife, the violinist and teacher Felicia Wilson, who died after a four-year battle with leukemia. Two years later, Wilson
celebrated her life with the album Beginning of a Memory, featuring his Big Happy Family group with trumpeter Stafford, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, saxophonist Joel Frahm, pianist Gary Versace, and others.