Utah Jazz (producer)
Wilson was born in London, England. He was raised within a very artistic family. His parents were Faith, a fashion designer, and Tony, a graphic designer. He was the youngest of three siblings, two brothers, Product Designer Ben Wilson & Graphical Artist Oscar Wilson.
Both brothers were instrumental to Wilson's musical career by introducing him to the music on London pirate stations, Kool FM, Weekend Rush and Green Apple in 1993 then teaching him the basics of mixing and even escorting him to his early DJ gigs when he was too young to travel alone.
Known for his use of samples, Wilson adopts the Hip Hop mentality of Crate Digging – delving into the past to find obscure sounds and old recordings to re-create and produce his tracks.
The stage-name 'Utah Jazz', also that of a US NBA Basketball team, has led to some bemusement and even hate messages from their fans worldwide.
Wilson began using the name in 1994 to showcase his preferred style of Drum and bass – a cross between jungle and atmospheric sounds with Wilson citing LTJ Bukem and Alex Reece as major early influences and it was then, with Reece, that Wilson had his first major breakthrough.
A chance meeting with his then drum and bass hero (when Reece moved into Wilson's home town of Barnet in Hertfordshire), led to studio sessions together and Wilson supporting Reece on his many tour gigs both in the UK and Europe from the age of 18.
In 1999, aged 19, Wilson joined Reece for a monthly residency at London superclub Fabric, which had recently opened. Wilson remains a regular fixture at the club and can be found DJ-ing for 'Fabric Live' or as part of LTJ Bukem's residency at the club called Progression Sessions.
Also in 1999, after Reece parted company with Island Records, they formed the record label 'Fallen Angels 21st Century Music' or 'Fallen Angles 21' releasing works such as 'All Night Long', 'Retrospect' and 'Exposed' featuring Wax Doctor.
After four years of running the label, Wilson became frustrated that he could not engineer his own tracks and had to rely on Reece for studio time and so decided to launch his solo career. On a small budget, Wilson built Slow Hand studios – a makeshift bedroom set-up in Barnet where many of his early classic tracks were produced.
In 2004 he wrote 'Jumpstart' which was released on Hospital Records. This cemented Wilson's early connection with the label through brother Oscar who co-wrote the first Hospital release 'Harp of Gold' with close friends, Hospital label owners, Tony Colman and Chris Goss. The three together were known as the 'Peter Nice Trio'; Chris and Tony went on to global success as London Elektricity.
Also, released in 2004 were the tracks 'Harlem', 'Done & Dusted' and 'The Deep End' – all through Bryan G's imprint Liquid V, sister label of V Recordings. This led to a close working relationship between Wilson and V Recordings owner Bryan G and culminated in the release of Wilson's debut album on the label some years later.
In 2005, Wilson wrote 'Runaway', one of his most popular tracks to date and now considered to be an all time classic of the liquid funk. Again, released on Liquid V, the track was quoted as BBC DJ Fabio's 'tune of the year'. It fused 70s funk and soul riffs into drum and bass format alongside a male vocal.
In 2006, Wilson produced V Recordings' biggest selling single of the year when he remixed Roni Size & DJ Die's jungle classic 'It's A Jazz Thing'. Wilson produced two versions of the remix – one using the original 'It's A Jazz Thing' samples and the other side using samples from both 'It's A Jazz Thing' and its original B side 'All Crews Must Big Up' together, which is known in the scene as a 'mash up'. Both tracks were originally released on V Recordings in 1994.
Wilson's remix 12" went on to reach number 14 in the UK dance singles chart and number 1 in the BBC Radio 1 drum & bass chart. It became an overnight success within the wider spectrum of drum & bass outside of Wilson's usual 'liquid funk' tag and received support from Andy C, Pendulum and later in 2007 from Annie Mac on her BBC Radio 1 show. It was also added to the BBC 1Xtra playlist.
In 2008, Wilson released his debut album 'It's A Jazz Thing' on Liquid V to critical acclaim. The album was named by Liquid V label boss, Bryan G after the success of Wilson's Roni Size remix two years previously. Also, according to Mixmag, it aptly suited 'Wilson's knack for excavating big riffs from 70's funk and soul records'.
After the album release, drum and bass magazine Knowledge dubbed Wilson as a 'remarkable composer' and 'drum and bass royalty in the making' while iDJ magazine proclaimed him to be a 'matchless funk alchemist' and the 'soul price of drum and bass'.
Later that year, 'It's A Jazz Thing' was the second highest ranked drum and bass album in Mixmag's 2008 Top 50 poll. The Number 1 spot was 'More Than A lot' by Chase & Status with Pendulum's 'In Silico' ranked 3rd.
The release of 'It's A Jazz Thing' turned Wilson into a highly sought-after DJ on the international club circuit, regularly playing up to 10 gigs per month worldwide.
In early 2009, Wilson was nominated for 'best DJ' and 'best album' at the UK drum and bass awards.
Later that year, Wilson headlined at Milan super club Magnolia's open air parade where he performed a DJ set on his 30th birthday to over 7000 people. In November 2009, Wilson performed DJ gigs in the UK, France, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia and The United States – all within the space of just 6 weeks.
Nicknamed 'Wearing Utah's Rolex' and starting as an unofficial bootleg, Wilson's remix became so popular that it was eventually signed to Warner Brother & Atlantic Records as an official version and was subsequently licensed for the 2009 compilation 'This is Drum and Bass' mixed by High Contrast and London Elektricity.
Also in 2009, Wilson was commissioned to co-write the music for the TV series Gumball 3000, an adaptation of the famous Gumball Rally car race. The music and series has since been licensed to 13 countries worldwide and was written alongside Wilson's friend and close Barnet associate, Arlen Figgis, son of film director Mike Figgis.
2010 sees the release of Wilson's 2nd studio album 'Utah Jazz Presents Vintage'. Collaborations on the LP are set to include Jungle Drum & Bass pioneer, Jonny L, multi-million selling vocalist, Chelonis R. Jones from Röyksopp, the Ragga Twins plus a hip hop collaboration with MC D.R.S.. The early track previews have already received thousands of hits on sites such as YouTube and Myspace.
- "Playlist for 3 June 2006 – 9 June 2006". BBC 1Xtra web site. June 2006.
- "On a Jazz Tip...". Kmag. p. 45.[volume & issue needed]
- "Mixmag". RockList.net.