Dave Wilson

Primary Instrument: Saxophone

Born: August 22, 1955    

Dave Wilson

Dave Wilson was born and raised in Bronxville, NY. Rooted strongly in a music background since the fourth grade, Wilson continues to forge his name in jazz as a lasting influence. Wilson has been residing in the Lancaster, PA area since 1983. As the leader of his own jazz groups, the Dave Wilson Quartet/Crazeology, Wilson and his band mates are known for their groundbreaking improvisations along with creative individualistic compositions and unique arrangements of standards. Wilson continues to stretch his boundaries freelancing with both big bands and small ensembles in the area. From concerts to festivals to club dates and private engagements, Wilson averages over 150 gigs per year and has held that number steady since 1990! Some of the highlights ; concerts and festivals including the Philadephia-based Jazz Bridge (org) “Neighborhood concert series” at Kennett Square in January of 2013, 2012 Lebanon Jazz Festival, the 2011 Scranton Jazz Festival, the 2007 and 2010 Media (PA) “Jazz by Night” Festival; headlining the 2009 and 2010 York Jazz Fest at the Strand Capital Theatre, featuring members of the new recording group listed below; appearances recently at the 2011 and 2012 Harrisburg Jazz and Multicultural Music Festival, 2011 and 2012 Harrisburg Kapona Festival, 2011 Bethlehem Musikfest (w/ Ben Mauger’s Vintage Jazz Band), 2011 & 2012 Long's Park Arts & Crafts Festival, 2011 & 2012 Moondancer Winery Jazz Festival, 2012 People’s Choice Festival (State College), Berks Jazz Festival...
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    Summit Records
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    My Time

    Dreambox Media
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    Through the Time

    Dreamscape Records

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Featured recording “Spiral”

Latest Release


Summit Records (2010)

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Here are what some of the critics said about “Spiral” (Released in 2010) Spiral Review published in Downbeat Magazine (November, 2010)-John Ephland ***1/2 (3 and ½ stars)

“With a crack band in pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Tony Marino and Adam Nussbaum on drums, saxophonist Dave Wilson knows how to pick them and the music. Actually, most of these 11 tunes are Wilson's, with a few of the covers suggesting eclecticism: Toninho Horta's “Francisca” and the Grateful Dead classic “Friend Of The Devil”. Eclectic because, as far as jazz albums go, Spiral is pretty standard, straightahead fare, sparked by Wilson's edgy yet loose tenor playing along with vivid comping and soloing by Markowitz, sold support from Marino and sensitive yet fiery playing from the always reliable Nussbaum. The Title track is an uptempo swinger with a catchy melody hinged on two chords and great playing all around. Wilson's “Movin' On”, to take another example, is a good spot to hear the saxophonist's lyrical yet burly tone on this medium-slow swinger, Markowitz's piano adding its own lyrical sheen while Marino and Nussbaum channel their respective Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones vibes. Wilson's “Like GS 2” (the title is a reference to Scott LaFaro's “Gloria's Step”, the song a reworking) is a light trio excursion, featuring the leader's Warne Marsh-like playing with Marino getting some room to solo against Nussbaum's tasty brushwork. This swinger indicates a band comfort level both wide and deep.”

Spiral Review published in JazzTimes Magazine (December, 2010)-Bill Milkowski

With stellar support from Pianist Phil Markowitz, Bassist Tony Marino, and drummer Adam Nussbaum, Pennsylvania-based saxophonist-educator Dave Wilson elevates his game and blows with authority on this collection of originals and smartly plucked covers. From the aggressive title track (with Wilson channeling his inner Trane on tenor) to the soothing bossa nova “Ocean Blue”, the expansive modal number “Movin’ On” and an intriguing variation on Scott LaFaro’s “Gloria’s Step” (titled “Like GS Step 2”) the saxophonist showcases a bold sound, fertile ideas, and fluid lines. Also included are spirited covers of the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” and Creed’s “My Own Prison”.

-CD Review: By Karl Ackermann-All About Jazz

“Wilson's compositions and covers reflect an eclectic approach, featuring ballads, Latin influences, free improvisation and mainstream jazz. Wilson's and his quartet may well have produced their breakout effort with Spiral; a potpourri of jazz styles from sometimes unlikely sources, it nevertheless flows and holds together, thanks to the multiple skills of Wilson and his band... Should it appear that cover arrangements are the highlights of Spiral, rest assured that they are just part of the overall package. Wilson's own contributions account for more than half the numbers and they measure up across the board. Whether the focus is on melody or free improvisation, Wilson is more than up to the task and could not have found a more empathetic collaborator than Markowitz. Spiral is an inventive, high-energy collection with a number of very accessible compositions that should propel Wilson's career as a leader.”

CD Reviews:

by George Fendel

“If might be said that Dave Wilson represents a new segment of jazz musicians who test the ears of the listener nearly exclusively through their own compositions. Wilson has roots in Coltrane, but I found his actual tenor sound to have earlier influences as well…his compositions…test your ability to determine a melody line. ...there’s a very urban, brawny sound that he seems to favor. For this recording, Wilson enlisted some top echelon talent in Phil Markewitz, piano, Tony Martino, bass, and Adam Nussbaum, drums. If you’re looking for Zoot, Ben or Getz, this won’t be you entree, but if you like being inside the outside, these guys dig pretty deep.”

-CD Reviews: by Alex

“When an album includes songs by the Grateful Dead, Creed, and Ambrosia, the phrase “instrumental, acoustic-oriented post-bop jazz” usually isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But tenor/soprano saxophonist Dave Wilson's Spiral is, in fact, an instrumental, acoustic-oriented post-bop jazz album that includes songs by the Grateful Dead, Creed, and Ambrosia — and the impressive thing is that Wilson's jazz mentality is as strong on the rock and pop/rock material as it is on the original compositions that dominate this 2009 recording….But Spiral isn't smooth jazz; Wilson gets his inspiration from post-bop saxophonists like Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, and Joe Henderson (with a healthy appreciation of Michael Brecker as well). And when he tackles the Grateful Dead's “Friend of the Devil,” Creed's “My Own Prison,” and Ambrosia's “Biggest Part of Me,” Wilson isn't playing the type of vapid, note-for-note covers one associates with Dave Koz, Richard Elliot or the late George Howard….Wilson (who forms a quartet with pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Tony Marino, and drummer Adam Nussbaum) seriously interprets those three tunes, and his solos are equally introspective on six original compositions and a memorable arrangement of Brazilian star Toninho Horta's “Francisca.” The fact that Wilson can take songs from Bay Area jam band country-rock, post-grunge, alternative rock, soft rock/adult contemporary, and Brazilian jazz-pop and make all of them relevant to post-bop speaks well of the Pennsylvania-based saxophonist, who is in fine form throughout Spiral.”

August 11, 2010 By Chuck Vecoli,

If you have ever spent any time in the Lancaster Pennsylvania area, and you like jazz, chances are you have stumbled across this treasure trove of talented musicians. I have had the pleasure of hearing a few of the region's offerings, both in the area and on CDs. Dave Wilson is one of those musicians and the latest CD, “Spiral”, by the Dave Wilson Quartet is among those treasures.

“Spiral” is Wilson's third and latest effort and demonstrates a growing competence in the role of leader, composer and arranger. Wilson brings together a band of first call sidemen including Phil Markowitz on piano, Tony Marino on bass, and Adam Nussbaum on drums. These talented musicians make first quality work out of the Wilson compositions and arrangements. Throughout this CD the sidemen are ever-present contributors to the intent of the arrangements and honor the emotion of the compositions. A standout performer on this CD is Markowitz on piano, a constant compliment to the lead work of Wilson, tying the rhthym section to the lead with a sensitivity that only a master can provide…The work provides a perfect venue for demonstrating the talent of Dave Wilson and his sidemen. Cuts on this CD rank among the most entertaining jazz saxophone works I have heard. The Dave Wilson Quartet has delivered a most memorable effort with “Spiral”.

CD Reviews: By Doug Simpson, Audiophile Audition

Dave Wilson Quartet – Spiral – Summit

“On Spiral, saxophonist Dave Wilson proves two things: he is a top-notch composer and he has a talent for choosing idiosyncratic cover tunes.

…Some jazz recordings seem produced to fit specific kinds of listeners or audiences: avantgarde, traditional, pop-oriented, soul jazz and others. Pennsylvania-based saxophonist Dave Wilson does not create jazz in an attempt to complement all tastes but nevertheless one listen to Wilson’s third album as leader, Spiral, and it becomes evident Wilson makes jazz that can be satisfying to several types of fans: he does not jump from one genre to another, but has put together an hour’s worth of jazz that is engaging, confident and rewarding.

….Wilson wrote six of the 11 tracks and despite some unusual choices in cover material, he gives the project a cohesive unity… Wilson has a gift for picking unique covers…It is not often someone can hear a Grateful Dead country rocker (outlaw narrative “Friend of the Devil”) and a lilting Latin number by guitarist Toninho Horta on the same record…However, Wilson’s self-penned cuts are the meat and potatoes of this outing and reveal an artist who melds technical proficiency with responsive composing.”

CD Review:

St. Joseph News-Press, Mo., Street Beats column: Dave Wilson Quartet, 'Spiral' (Summit Records) Jul 15, 2010 (St. Joseph News-Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) –

“”Spiral” is a minor masterpiece. It has the urgency, technical proficiency and coherent song succession that only the finest studio recordings possess and only the best players can produce….”Spiral” is music that deserves to be heard.

CD Reviews: By Frank C. Etier

“Wait a minute! Is that Stan Getz or Paul Desmond? The first two tracks made it clear that this was real jazz, but when track three (“Ocean Blue”) was introduced with a smooth samba-like rhythm and the saxophone slipped in, it made me do a double take. Was this Dave Wilson and his quartet or did the wrong CD make it into the player? …Spiral is Dave Wilson’s third CD and he is joined for this project by three legendary sidemen with stellar resume’s. Phil Markowitz on piano, Tony Marino on bass, and Adam Nussbaum on drums have worked with such notables as Chet Baker, Bob Mintzer, Zoots Sims, Phil Woods, Stan Getz, John Scofield, and Dave Liebman. The Dave Wilson Quartet is tight and turns in a defining performance both for themselves and traditional jazz. …For those who use that crossover appeal as a benchmark for success, this CD is a must buy. Dave Wilson is a music educator, band leader, sideman, event promoter, salesman 9 (musical instruments), arranger, and now recording artist. With two previous CD’s that both made waves on the charts, we hope that the third time is a charm for a vehicle to great fame. Such success would be great not only for Wilson, but for jazz music in general.”

CD Reviews:

“The 11 cuts on this fantastic high-energy CD prove his musical genius beyond doubt, especially on tracks like “Summer Breezes”, one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've heard this year. It's full-tilt jazz from the title track on the opener, “Spiral”, to my absolute favorite piece, “Movin' On “... Phil Markowitz' piano, bass by Tony Marino and drums from Adam Nussbaum all work together with Dave's probing reed work to make this a most memorable CD…This CD is more than just a “keeper”, it's an instant classic in my collection... I can't say enough about Dave's splendid June 2010 release - it gets my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, as well as the “PICK” of 2010 for “best jazz quartet”. Rotcod Zzaj Aka Dick Metclaf IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION

CD Review:

By Raul d'Gama Rose

“…The nature of successful interlocking is that the pieces fit each other with seamless perfection. In a group of disparate musicians this is not always possible. However, with the ensemble that saxophonist Dave Wilson has put together the pieces seem to fit with enviable perfection. There is a swirling energy that keeps the unit cohesive; but, more than that, it appears as if saxophonist, pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Tony Marino and drummer Adam Nussbaum were cut from the same cloth. The understanding between each of the musicians is telepathic and often, throughout the long and rewarding set, it feels as if they share one dynamic brain.

….Something is always happening in the churning energy of the vortex that is the Dave Wilson Quartet. Usually, Wilson provokes this with the gruff-and-tender miasma that swirls like an electromagnetic field around his saxophone. He gently agitates the very air around him with fluidity that recalls the gentle and throaty persuasions of Joe Henderson on tenor. On soprano saxophone, Wilson favors a drier tone that streams with gilded edges and sharp undulations. His thoughts flow rapidly on both horns, turning out statements of a concrete, poetic nature….This anchor enables him and his fellow musicians to create great circular clusters of sound, charged with burgeoning harmony.

….There is so much on this album to challenge not simply the musicians, but also those who hear the music. This is a record that reaches deep into the soul—something that cannot be said about very much music these days.” ————————————————————————————-

Here are what some of the critics said about “My Time” (released in 2007):

FIRST, AN OUTSTANDING REVIEW IN THE MARCH, 2007 ISSUE OF JAZZ TIMES! …Dave Wilson’s second CD makes a subdued entrance with a gently flowing ballad led by long, clear tones from Wilson’s soprano sax. But just when you thin you’ve got him figured out, the tables are turned. It’s Wilson’s gruff, streetwise tenor that dominates this outing, with a merry band of Philadelphia musicians keeping the vibe straight-up and swinging. They hit their peak in a compelling version of “Summertime” (presented here in two versions), with Wilson’s passionate blowing going into overdrive above the riffing rhythm section. Five original tunes offer catchy hooks and warm moods, keeping the disc buzzing along nicely. JAZZ TIMES, MARCH 2007

...Wilson injects punch and zip into jazz standards...his wit shines radiantly... And besides the musicians’ noticeable camaraderie and solid chops, this endeavor pronounces clarity of thought, and proclamations of good cheer. - Glenn Astarita

...An engaging performance and clever, boppish charts, should propel this disc to the top of the national jazz station play list. - Edward Blanco

…Tenor saxophonist Dave Wilson and his quartet are based in Philadelphia and, from the evidence of this CD, they are well worth catching. Wilson has an intense but friendly tone on tenor and soprano, and a style based in hard bop but open to undertaking more adventurous paths. Pianist Matt Hochmiller takes several impressive solos and the rhythm section is both supportive and stimulating. Whether it is an up-tempo romp or a brooding ballad, My Time has plenty of colorful moments and features the four musicians in top form. -Scott Yanow, (AMG)

…The Dave Wilson Quartet’s 2005 album My Time is very good in a recent CD release that offers mostly original material by Wilson…It is one of the most replayable Jazz CDs we have heard in a while and fans will be very interested too. -Nicholas Sheffo,

…In the tradition of mainstream jazz, reedman extraordinaire Dave Wilson asserts himself to us his devoted listeners like a NASA shuttle bent on conquering the universe...Proffering us their music with compelling chordal extensions, & lovely angular lines, etc....Bringing our sensibilities to a strong musical reaction in real time. George W. Carroll/The Musicians' Ombudsman

…A solid ensemble plus a few tried and true standards make this worthwhile recording. 4 Stars John Gilbert,

…Dave Wilson…A post-Coltrane soprano and tenor saxophonist with a penchant for melody…. a keen sense of melody, as well as the ability to turn the heat a notch up on the uptempo tracks. -Michael P. Gladstone

…Lancaster, Pa.-based saxophonist Dave Wilson can change your mind about the hipness of Amish country… is a threat throughout the woodwind family. …a fluid player who gets around the horn - mostly soprano and tenor - and blends in wherever he lands… a happening mainstream vibe -K.S. Karl Stark, Philadelphia Inquirer

Primary Instrument: Saxophone

Location: Lancaster, PA

Willing to teach: Advanced students only.


In the South Central Pennsylvania Area, I am actively seeking students for private instruction on woodwind instruments: all saxophones (all levels), clarinet (all levels), flute (beginning to intermediate), and beginning oboe. I believe my name is on your list, but, if it is not, please put it on. You can add the phone number: (717)-581-0153, the email:, as well as the music studios and their phone numbers that I am associated with (this is important): - Lititz Academy of Music (717) 627-4000, 112 N Locust St, Lititz, PA 17543 - Lancaster Conservatory of Music, (717)-394-7106, 1020 Dillerville Rd, Lancaster, PA 17603 - Pick Music, 717) 266-8942, 60 Glen Dr. Manchester, PA 17345 Those interested can contact me either at my own number or the number listed at the studio. I am a graduate of Lebanon Valley College (’87) with a B.S. in music education. I have been teaching privately on a full-time basis since 1991. Before that I was first a substitute teacher in the school system and taught at Town and Country Day School in Harrisburg for 2 years. As a private instructor I was affiliated with Menchey Music in both York and Lancaster for 10 years from 1991-2001. I am and have been associated with the 3 studios above since 2001, and also teach on a limited basis out of my home. I presently carry between 40 and 45 students from beginners to advanced, from ages 9 to 70. I have had students of mine make district band on saxophone and clarinet. In 2005 year a student of mine made district band on tenor saxophone. I have had several students of mine go on to become music teachers and/or successful musicians. I work well with beginners. I feel equally at home working in the classical and jazz fields of study. Jazz education is a special interest of mine and I have a comprehensive and organized approach to this utilizing specific study tools. I am also a professional jazz woodwind artist (read my performance bio below), and this helps immensely in this approach. I will say that working on school-related music, including preparation for marching, concert, and jazz bands, as well as the weekly private or group lesson or sectional, is a top priority for me, and is something that is never neglected. In this regard, I try to work hand in hand with the band director in helping to nurture and develop the student’s individual skills. Why take private lessons? Private lessons from a specialist help the student with an individualized and specialized approach to the learning of their instrument. This can lead to a better musician and a better school band player. They help foster self-esteem and confidence in the individual. I might add that and idea for an advanced student musician is to be a better participant and model for his classmates and a deterrent for others’ progress. Thank you for any consideration and I look forward to working with you in the future. If you have any questions, please let me know. (I ALSO HAVE AN ACTIVE BUSINESS BUYING AND SELLING USED AND NEW WOODWIND AND BRASS MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CAN BE FOUND ON MY WEB SITE AT DAVEWILSONMUSIC.ORG, OR BY ASKING ME DIRECTLY.)
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