Steve Wilson

Musician and Educator in Santa Cruz, CA


Steve Wilson is a musician and educator, and winner of the 2013 Santa Cruz Weekly Gold Award for Best Local Musician. He performed for many years as an orchestral trombonist with the Santa Cruz Symphony, the Cabrillo Music Festival Orchestra and the Reed Street Brass Quintet. He has also played and sung with multiple jazz and latin jazz groups including the Union Dues Big Band, Havana Jazz and Midnight Mambo. He has performed and recorded with pop acts from Harper’s Bizarre and The Flying Karamotzov Brothers to James Durbin. He has performed several times in different ensembles at the Monterey Jazz Festival, where he has also worked as a clinician and educator. His band, Steve Wilson and Friends, features his original compositions in the vocal and instrumental jazz idioms. He is the leader/composer/arranger of the vocal jazz quartet Mainswing, and a pioneer in the use of conch shells in jazz, latin jazz and avant-gard music. He currently performs with Cabrillo Stage and the White Album Ensemble.


In addition to performance and composition, Steve has been a music instructor at Cabrillo College in Aptos for 35 years. He currently teaches songwriting and music theory, and has worked as a vocal director for Cabrillo stage. In the past he has taught Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Choir, Jazz Improvisation and a variety of other courses.

Steve directs the summer Jazz Camp for Kuumbwa Jazz, where he has also served on the Board of Directors. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival, where he has previously served as President. For almost 20 years, Steve taught for Santa Cruz City Schools, including several years of superior ratings for jazz band and jazz choir performances at the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival. Steve has worked as an adjudicator at jazz festivals in Santa Cruz, San Jose and Monterey. He also works as the low-brass coach for the El Camino Youth Symphony. Steve has a B.A. in music and an M.A. in education from the University of California at Santa Cruz.