Born: July 22, 1952 Primary Instrument: Trombone
After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Dennis Wilson began his professional career with Lionel Hampton as trombonist, arranger, and musical director. He has been a lead/solo trombonist for the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, The New Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and for ten years with Mr. William James Count Basie and his Orchestra.
He received a Grammy Award nomination for arrangements created for Manhattan Transfer. He has performed on over six Grammy Winning Albums with the Count Basie Orchestra. His experience includes work with many jazz greats including Sarah Vaughn, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Clark Terry, and Joe Williams.
A subject of biographical reference in both Who's Who in Education and Who's Who in Entertainment, Mr. Wilson is presently the Music Production Manager for the Count Basie Orchestra. His primary task there is the development of jazz education opportunities for the Basie Orchestra. Mr. Wilson's educational involvements include being a member of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE). He initially served IAJE as a member of the Presidents Advisory Board and the Planning and Development Committee. He currently is a member of the IAJE Resource Team. Wilson joined the music faculty at Kansas State University as Director of Jazz Studies in 1994 and was appointed to the position of Assistant Dean for the Kansas State University College of Arts and Sciences in 1998.
In May of 2000 Professor Dennis Wilson joined the music faculty of the University of Michigan, School of Music. His duties at Michigan include directing their Jazz Lab Ensemble, Jazz Trombone Ensemble, Jazz Flute Ensemble, and arranging. Working with outstanding artists/jazz educators Ed Sarath, Ellen Rowe and Donald Walden, Geri Allen and Robert Hurst, Wilson also coordinates the University of Michigan, Rhythm Section Institute and is the Executive Director of the University of Michigan Jazz Festival. He created the Trombone Symposium at the University of Michigan and now is academically ranked as an Associate Professor of Music.
He led the trombone section of the prestigious Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra under the musical direction of Mr. Jon Faddis. In 2001 Dennis Wilson became the first “Artist in Resident” for the San Jose Jazz Society. This new creative position had him directly involved in the world’s largest free jazz festival. In 2002 he created the San Jose Jazz Orchestra which showcases the rich talent of the entire greater San Francisco / San Jose area.
His current musical projects include:
The Count Basie Orchestra with Nnenna Freelon
(Creator and Musical Director)
Arrangements for Manhattans Transfers, Tim Hauser
(Orchestrator and conductor of horns)
Dennis Wilson and Chris Smith “A Salute to Jay and Kai”
(J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding”