Baldwinite Matt Wilson to receive honorary degree


Baldwinite Matt Wilson, a jazz musician, will receive an honorary degree from Knox College at its commencement on June 2. Wilson, a Knoxville native, has released 13 albums as a leader, appeared on more than 400 others as a sideman and has played with an array of some of the most legendary names in jazz.

The Jazz Journalists Association named him 2018 Musician of the Year and his album, “Honey And Salt (Music Inspired by the Poetry of Carl Sandburg),” won the association’s Album of the Year Award.

The Baldwin drummer is one of the most in-demand players and educators on the modern jazz scene. He leads many distinctive ensembles, including the Matt Wilson Quartet; Arts & Crafts; Honey and Salt; Big Happy Family; Topsy Turvy; and the Christmas Tree-O.

The Jazz Journalists Association in 2003 and 2011 named him drummer of the year, he topped the “Rising Star Drummer” category in DownBeat’s Critics poll for five straight years and in 2016 was inducted into the Wichita State Univesity Fine Arts Hall of Fame in 2016. He was nominated for a Grammy in 2011.

In demand as an educator, he’s led workshops and master classes around the world and is a member of the faculty at the New School, SUNY Purchase, San Francisco Conservatory, Sarah Lawrence College and Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland.

Knox College, located in Galesburg, Ill., was voted one of the 40 schools listed in Loren Pope’s book “Colleges That Change Lives.” It was the site of the fifth presidential debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas in 1858, and Lincoln received the college’s first honorary doctorate in 1860.

Compiled by Anthony O’Reilly