Jack Wilson was an American jazz pianist and composer.
Wilson was born in Chicago on August 3, 1936, moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana at age seven. From 1949 to 1954, he studied piano with Carl Atkinson at the Fort Wayne College of Music. It was during this time that he was introduced to the music of George Shearing.
Later picking up tenor saxophone, Wilson played in the Central High School band and began performing locally as a leader of small combos. By his fifteenth birthday, he had become the youngest member ever to join the Fort Wayne Musicians Union (Local 58). At the age of 17 he played a two-week stint as a substitute pianist in James Moody's band.
After graduating from Central High, Wilson spent a year-and-a-half at the Indiana University, encountering Freddie Hubbard and Slide Hampton. Touring with a rock 'n' roll band, he wound up in Columbus, Ohio, connecting with the then unknown Nancy Wilson and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
After a year in Columbus, Wilson moved to Atlantic City, leading the house band at the Cotton Club, now adding organ to his musical arsenal. At the Club he encountered Dinah Washington, with whom he worked from 1957 to 1958.
Returning to Chicago, Wilson played with Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Eddie Harris and Al Hibbler. His longest gig there was at the Persian Lounge with bassist Richard Evans, with whom Jack made his recording debut as a sideman on Richard's Almanac (July 21–23, 1959). Drafted into the Army, he went to Fort Stewart, Georgia, and became the first Black music director for the Third Army Area, playing tenor saxophone in the army band.