Dave Wilson is a leading jazz saxophonist, recording artist, band leader, composer, and educator in the Central PA/ Delaware Valley area, with a highly active venue and festival schedule as both a leader of his own groups and as a sideman. Born and raised in Bronxville, N.Y. Dave Wilson began his music studies in the fourth grade. Wilson has evolved into a striking saxophonist with chops and maturity of tone that invokes passions and enthusiasm when listening to his vocabulary in jazz. He has studied with saxophonists Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Bill Barron, Ralph Lalama, Tim Price, Glenn Guidone, Tom Strohman, as well as with guitarist Steve Giordano and pianist Kirk Reese. His main area of focus with the saxophone are the Tenor and Soprano, but he also focuses on the Alto, and is adept at both Clarinet (his first instrument back in grade school) and Flute.
As the leader of his own contemporary jazz group, the Dave Wilson Quartet, Wilson and his band mates are known for their exciting improvisations, creative individualistic compositions, and unique arrangements of standards. Wilson also led the Canal Street Hot 6, a well known Traditional/New Orleans ensemble for many years, with the trumpet master Ben Mauger, one of the top purveyors of this genre on the East Coast. They released the CD, Back In the Day. The Canal Street Hot 6 made numerous appearances on the East coast including at the Hot Steam Jazz Festival in Essex, CT, the Suncoast Jazz Society in Clearwater, Fla, The Tri-State Jazz Society (Philadelphia/New Jersey/Delaware), Pennsylvania Jazz Society, and at Baltimore’s Camden Yards. Dave remains highly active with this genre, and his current Traditional Jazz Group, the Rampart Street Ramblers, features often an all-star lineup including some of the top names in Mid Atlantic Traditional Jazz circles.
Wilson was a long-standing member of the legendary trumpet master Dave Stahl and played in his Sacred Orchestra and Dave Stahl Big Band. He appears on two DSSO CDs, the initial recordings of the group. With the big band he played alongside such Jazz luminaries as Wynton Marsalis, Tom Harrell, the late Lou Soloff (BS & T), the late Steve Marcus (charter member of the Buddy Rich Big Band), John Fedchock, Conrad Herwig, Gary Smulyan (Award winning Baritone Saxophonist and charter member of the Village Vanguard Orchestra), Steve Smith (from Journey) and John Riley, among others. Dave continues his work in "Big Band" music, and currently performs on a regular basis in largely regional ensembles including the River City Big Band, King Street Big Band (KSBB), the Ben Mauger Vintage Jazz Band, and the Hershey Symphony Big Band, the "Kool Kats", as well as hiring out for an occasional "show".
The saxophonist released first solo CD in the Fall of 2020 entitled Through The Time featuring himself on tenor and soprano saxophones; Kirk Reese on piano; Steve Meashey on bass; and Jeff Stabley on drums. The release was picked up by Dreamscape Records and received significant airplay on WRTI-FM in Philadelphia and enjoyed additional airplay on over 30 jazz stations nationwide. “Through the Time” found itself on a few individual stations top 5 stats.
A second CD by the Dave Wilson Quartet titled My Time was released in late 2005 on Dreambox Media, a leading Independent record company out of Philadelphia. It garnered favorable reviews nationwide, including such publications as The Philadelphia Inquirer, All About Jazz, and Jazz Times. It a favorite at WRTI in Philadelphia as well as some 35-40 jazz stations nationwide. It achieved “Chartbound” status, peaking at #55 on the Jazz Week album chart rankings.
Dave Wilson's third recording Spiral, featured internationally known personnel, Phil Markowitz on Piano, Tony Marino on Bass, and Adam Nussbaum on Drums, was released nationally on the Summit Records label in June 2010. It garnered national airplay from some 40 stations nationwide, achieved “Chartbound” status in the Jazz Weekly countdown, topping at #51 nationwide, (staying in the 50’s for over 8 weeks), as well as #41 in the Roots Radio Report. It received many positive reviews including those in national publications Downbeat (3 1/2 stars) and JazzTimes, along with several other publications.
The New Dave Wilson Quartet released their fourth recording There Was Never on the New York based ZOHO Music Label, in the winter of 2016. Recorded at world renowned Red Rock Studios, Saylorsburg, Pa, the fantastic Kent Heckman engineering, it featured an all-star lineup of Bobby Avey-Piano, Tony Marino-Bass, Alex Ritz-Drums, (members of the Dave Liebman Group), performing six original compositions from saxophonist Dave Wilson, plus unique and compelling interpretations of three well-known tunes, (including the classic "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys; "Cassidy", by the Grateful Dead, and a unique take on Gershwin's "Summertime").
After the release there were some great performances: CD releases at The Garage in Greenwich Village, NY and Chris' Jazz Cafe, master class/concert s at several Pennsylvania area colleges, appearances at the Bethlehem Musikfest, Washington D.C.'s Ronald Reagan Plaza, the Manassas Jazz Festival, among others. The CD received radio airplay in some 40 different markets across the country, and for 6 weeks was in the top 50 of the nation-wide Jazz Weekly Jazz Radio Countdown, reaching a high of #18 in the nation! It was in the Top 11 in Philadelphia's WRTI New Releases, for several weeks, reaching a high of number 5. The track "Cassidy" was #13 in WRTI'S countdown for the top 100 in 2016. There was also a great review in the February issue of famed Downbeat Magazine. There Was Never put in nomination for a Grammy by ZOHO Music that year; the only record from ZOHO that was nominated.
One Night at Chris’ (Dave Wilson Music) is the fifth release of The Dave Wilson Quartet, recorded live at the famous Chris’ Jazz Cafe ‘in Philadelphia, PA in March of 2018 and released at the end of May of 2019. Featuring Dave on Tenor and Soprano Saxophones and his working band of Kirk Reese – Piano (East Coast Legend); Tony Marino - Acoustic Bass (world renowned and Charter member of the Dave Liebman Group); Dan Monaghan – Drums (Legendary Philadelphia drummer). The disc contains 10 tracks, four originals by Wilson and six re-arrangements by/of pop/rock favorites including The Grateful Dead’s “Friend Of The Devil”, The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood,” Creed’s “My Own Prison”, Ambrosia’s 1980 hit single, “Biggest Part of Me,” and The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows.”
Bill Milkowski states in the liner notes of the CD, “savvy adaptations of familiar pop tunes, filtered through a distinctly jazzy prism.” And, from Bill Milkowski. “The crackling intensity of One Night at Chris’ is a testament to what can happen on the bandstand on any given night. And this was a particularly good night indeed.” The recording is a document of one evening of music recorded live, no overdubs, no second takes and with all the nuances, surprises and magic known as Jazz. In rotation nationwide over the summer and achieving “chartbound” status (top 50 in the nation), on jazz radio, and garnering positive reviews, One Night at Chris is perhaps Dave’s greatest work, yet! The album made the WRTI-FM, leading Jazz Radio Station in Philadelphia “Jazz Album of the Week”, in August of 2019.
Wilson's 2022 release Stretching Supreme is 7 song live recording, taped at Philadelphia’s own Chris Jazz club, includes 5 John Coltrane compositions, the three song suite “Love Supreme”, “Dear Lord”, “Naima”, a Wilson original “On the Prairie” and the Mancini classic “Days Of Wine and Roses".
The performances of Coltrane’s work are the fruition of the quartet’s long-time lineup as well as Wilson’s journey as a saxophonist going back to his early teen years. As Wilson states, “...one of the first jazz records I ever bought was John Coltrane’s Live at the Village Vanguard. I was hooked. On this night I owed so much to mylong-time bandmates,Kirk,Tony,andAlex.Wehitsomemagic,gotinagrooveand stayed there. We felt a spirit, a creative flow and were in the moment.”
In the Coltrane compositions, Wilson’s artistry shines, weaving through the legendary saxophonist’s epic suite, with a fluidity that is fresh, exciting, vibrant, while spanning all the nuances and dynamics of an arsenal of tenor and soprano horns. The disc’s authentic live sound is the result of prolific engineer Kent Heckman of Red Rock Studios in Saylorsburg, PA. As Wilson says. “We were able to capture the magic of a live recording on a good night, and there was no reason to edit or chop these songs down to take away from it. It’s all here in its entirety.
Dave has performed at the Media, PA “Jazz by Night” festival, The Berk’s Jazz Fest, Harrisburg’s American Music Festival, Bethlehem Musikfest, Philadelphia's Jazz Bridge Sponsored "Neighborhood Concert Series", headlining at JazzFest in York, PA, the Manassas (VA) Wine & Jazz Festival, Herndon (VA) Music Festival, Penns Woods Winery Wine and Jazz Festival/"Wine and Jazz Under The Stars", Pittsburgh Cider & Mead Festival, Baltimore's Artscape, Central PA Arts Festival, People’s Choice Art and Music Festival, Jazz in the Attic (both in State College, PA) and the Scranton Jazz Festival among others. Dave also performed in New York City at the Somethin' Jazz Club and The Garage, venues and concerts in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Baltimore, and has made regular appearances at the famed Chris' Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia for several years now. He has also been active in college master classes and concerts.
In addition to those mentioned that he has recorded with, Wilson has also worked with pianists Mark Soskin (Sonny Rollins, NY Voices), Jim Ridl (Pat Martino), and Steve Rudolph; bassists Frank Gravis, Blake Meister, and Steve Varner; drummers Bill Goodwin, Frank Russo, Dan Monaghan, and Marko Marcinko; as well as saxophonist Tim Warfield, and Philadelphia based guitarist Steve Giordano, among others.
For over twenty years, Dave has kept an active performance schedule logging an average of 120-150 dates a year with various, almost all jazz-oriented ensembles at concerts, festivals, club dates and private engagements. Wilson resides with his wife Lisa in Lancaster, PA. where, when off stage, he teaches woodwinds and also owns and operates Dave Wilson Musical Instruments, a business focusing on the buying and selling of both vintage and contemporary, professional and student, woodwind and brass musical instruments.