Matt Wilson was born in Illinois in 1964 to a family that supported all of his creative pursuits. He became interested in playing the drums in the third grade after seeing Buddy Rich on the Lucy Show. Inspired, he pooled together some capital and purchased some Ludwig 9a sticks. With sticks in hand he began exploring a wide range of suitable cookware and five gallon buckets as sound sources. Soon his parents invested in a used snare drum and cymbal and so it began.
Matt attended Wichita State University and there was exposed to one of the most influential mentors of his career, Dr. JC Combs. Combs is a fantastic percussionist and “possesses one of the most creatively fertile imaginations on the planet.” Under Combs’ direction Matt played percussion works featuring a wide array of strange components; pinball machines, cloggers, bowlers and professional wrestlers all were standard fare. It was there that he met his wife Felicia; they met freshman year and married in 1987. That fall they moved to Boston where Felicia got her masters from New England Conservatory. Boston was hopping and Matt took full advantage to see and play with everyone he could. There he got to play, tour and record with some great bands and musicians including the Either/Orchestra, Charlie Kohlhase Quintet, Bevan Manson, John Medeski, Dominique Eade and countless others. Two words began to echo in his brain “New York.” It was time and with encouragement from folks like Cecil McBee and Andrew Cyrille they decided to head south to the Big Apple. Matt loved the energy of the scene immediately and began playing with some amazing musicians.
Matt Wilson has appeared on the Litchfield Jazz Festival fifteen times in fifteen years with various groups; his quartet, his Arts & Crafts group and with Mario Pavone, Dewey Redman, Bill Mays, Denny Zeitlin, Dena DeRose, Lee Konitz, Helio Alves, Charlie Haden and Lindsey Muir. Matt has been a resident artist at Litchfield Jazz Camp since 2010.