Phillip Wilson

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Phillip Wilson
Birth namePhillip Sanford Wilson
Born(1941-09-08)September 8, 1941
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
DiedMarch 25, 1992(1992-03-25) (aged 50)
New York City, U.S.
GenresJazz, free jazz, blues, funk, R&B
Years active1960–1992
Associated actsArt Ensemble of Chicago, Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Phillip Wilson (September 8, 1941 – March 25, 1992) was an American jazz drummer, known as a founding member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and as a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.


Born in St. Louis, Phillip Wilson was a third generation musician. His grandfather, Ira Kimball, was a percussionist playing on the riverboats that traveled down the Mississippi to New Orleans. His recording debut was with Sam Lazar, noted for having one of the first interracial bands in the St. Louis area.[1] Moving to Chicago, he was a member of the AACM and performed with the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

He joined up with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 1967 at a time when the band membership changed greatly, including an added horn section. He recorded three albums with the group. Wilson's song Love March, co-written with Gene Dinwiddie, was performed at Woodstock and released in 1970 on the original live record album from the festival.

Wilson, along with Dinwiddie and fellow former Butterfield Band member Buzz Feiten, formed the jazz-rock band Full Moon in the early-1970s. They recorded a self-titled album which is considered one of the finest early examples of Jazz Fusion. He was part of the loft jazz scene in 1970s New York, worked as a session musician for Stax Records in Memphis, jammed with Jimi Hendrix at the Cafe Au Go Go and Generation Club in 1968, recorded with The Last Poets, Fontella Bass, Olu Dara, David Murray, Anthony Braxton, Carla Bley, and a host of other musicians. He worked extensively with Lester Bowie.[2] In 1985, he and Bill Laswell co-produced the album Down by Law under the group name Deadline.

Wilson was still actively pursuing his musical career when he was murdered at 440 East 9th Street in New York City on March 25, 1992. As an outcome of the America's Most Wanted television program, Marvin Slater was convicted for premeditated murder in 1997, and sentenced to 33 1/3 years in State prison.[3]


As leader[edit]

  • 1978: Fruits - Live at the Northsea-Festival in Den Haag, July 14, 1978, with Leo Smith and Johnny Dyani.
  • 1978: Duet (Improvising Artists, with Bowie)
  • 1978: Live at Moers Festival
  • 1979: Esoteric (Hat Hut)

As group member[edit]

Also played[edit]

With Hamiet Bluiett

With Lester Bowie

With Anthony Braxton

With Paul Butterfield

With Julius Hemphill

With Sam Lazar

With Frank Lowe

  • Out of Nowhere (Ecstatic Peace, 1993)

With Roscoe Mitchell

With David Murray


  1. ^ City of Gabriels: the history of jazz in St. Louis, 1895-1973, Dennis Owsley, Reedy Press, August 8, 2006, ISBN 978-1933370040
  2. ^ "Phillip Wilson - Biography & History - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Phillip Wilson Remembered", St. Louis Jazz Notes, November 10, 2008

External links[edit]