Thad Wilson is known for leading the "most adventurous band around," according to The Washington Post. He has been a fixture on the vibrant Washington, DC jazz scene since his arrival in 1997.
Born in Wrightstown, New Jersey, and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, Thad has studied the trumpet since age 12, and began arranging and composing at 18. His musical achievements at an early age, which include the All-American High School Music Award and participation in New Jersey's All State Jazz Ensemble, swayed him to pursue music as a career. After majoring in Music Education at New Jersey City University, Thad studied privately with Jimmy Owens, former member of Dizzy Gillespie's Big Band, before launching his professional career.
As a leader, Thad's energetic and engaging approach unearths memories of Louis Armstrong. However, his music always reflects a personal style that blends progressive elements such as blues, funk, Gospel and a touch of hip-hop. Thad's eclectic ideas as a modern composer are brought to life through his various projects: Thad Wilson Jazz Orchestra, his 16-piece big band; Inner Urge, a collaborative project; Kindred Soul, his electric group; and Kako Se, an acoustic duo.
The Thad Wilson Jazz Orchestra became the only big band in the DC area to land a permanent residence at the esteemed One Step Down. Currently, the band is housed at HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz and Blues, recently named one of the world's top 100 jazz venues by Downbeat magazine. Both as a leader and performer on the jazz scene, Thad has become an acclaimed fixture.
Thad has performed alongside world-renowned artists such as George Benson, James Moody, Eddie Henderson, Steve Turre, Cecil Bridgewater, McCoy Tyner, Vanessa Ruben, and Roy Hargrove. He also performed with Senegalese artist, Djimo Kouyate, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millenium Stage. His worldwide appearances include Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia; Le Caveau de la Huchette in Paris, France; Antigua Music Festival; Atlanta Jazz Festival; New Orleans Jazz Festival; and Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Thad was also invited to perform his original suite "Reflections on Romare" at the National Gallery of Art's 2003 Romare Bearden exhibition opening festivities.
Thad has recorded on the Savoy Jazz label along with many of his own releases. Current recordings include Necessity Is A Mother, Naked Jazz Takes Off, and A Work in Progress. In addition to composing, performing and recording, Thad also continues to teach trumpet and Jazz composing/arranging privately.