Coastal Jazz and Blues hails him as “unquestionably one of the most original guitar stylists on the Canadian scene." Down Beat Magazine entitles him as “…a talismanic West Coast figure.”
Tony Wilson began his musical studies in 1981 at Malaspina College in Nanaimo, where he studied composition with Pat Carpenter. He took private guitar instruction from Oliver Gannon. At the Banff School for the Arts he studied with Dave Holland, John Abercrombie, Kevin Eubanks, Steve Coleman and Muhal Richard Abrams. Tony studied composition privately with multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia and composer Giorgio Magnanensi.
After moving to Vancouver in 1987, he performed and wrote music for the sextet Video Barbeque which won a West Coast Music Award for its CD Maximillism. In 1990, he formed the Tony Wilson Sextet which performs original compositions as well as arrangements of the works of jazz luminaries such as Don Cherry, Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart and Duke Ellington. He also leads a quintet, a quartet and a trio in his name.
He has been commissioned by Standing Wave, New Orchestra Workshop and Hard Rubber Orchestra, as well as by dance companies. His compositions have been performed by such artists as Myra Melford, Marilyn Crispell, François Houle, Barre Philips, Ig Hennemann and Zubot and Dawson.
He has toured across Canada, Europe and the United States. He has shared the stage with international artists, Vinny Golia, John Tchicai, Myra Melford, William Parker, Gerry Hemmingway, Han Bennink, and Paul Lovens among others.
He has released six recordings: Lowest Note, The People Look like Flowers at Last, Horseplay, Pearls Before Swine, Horses Dream and the Wilson/Lee/Bentley trio CD, Escondido Dreams.