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Immanuel Wilkins

Immanuel Wilkins is a saxophonist, composer, educator, and bandleader from the greater Philadelphia area. While growing up, Wilkins honed his skills in the church and studied in programs dedicated to teaching jazz music like the Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts. After moving to New York in 2015, he proceeded to earn his bachelor’s degree in Music at Juilliard (studying with the saxophonists Bruce Williams and the late, great Joe Temperley) while simultaneously establishing himself as an indemand sideperson, touring in Japan, Europe, South America, The United Arab Emirates, and the United States and working and/or recording with artists like Jason Moran, the Count Basie Orchestra, Delfeayo Marsalis, Joel Ross, Aaron Parks, Gerald Clayton, Gretchen Parlato, Lalah Hathaway, Solange Knowles, Bob Dylan, and Wynton Marsalis to name just a few. It was also during this same period that he formed his quartet featuring his long-time bandmates: Micah Thomas(piano),Daryl Johns(bass)and Kweku Sumbry(drums).

Being a bandleader with a working group for over four years has allowed Wilkins to grow both as a composer and as an arranger — and has led to him receiving a number of commissions including, most recently, from The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, The Jazz Gallery Artist Residency Commission Program (A collaboration with Sidra Bell Dance NY, 2020 ) and The Kimmel Center Artist in Residence for 2020 ( a collaboration with photographer Rog Walker and videographer David Dempewolf). Being emerged in the scene at a young age and sharing the stage with various jazz masters has inspired Wilkins to pursue his goal of being a positive force in both music and in society. This includes quite an impressive resumé as an educator. In addition to teaching at NYU and the New School, he has taught and given master classes and clinics at schools/venues like Oberlin, Yale and the Kimmel Center. Ultimately, Wilkins’ mission is to create music and to develop a voice that has a profound spiritual and emotional impact.

By studying the humanity and the cultural specificity of jazz, Wilkins aspires to bring people together through his art. His debut recording, Omega —produced by Jason Moran— was released by Blue Note Records in 2020 and has received uniformly rave reviews. In addition to being voted “Best New Jazz Artist” in the JazzTimes Critics’ Poll and “Best New Talent of 2020” by Musica Jazz, Wilkins’ Omega has appeared on numerous “Best of 2020” lists — most notably,” it was named NPR Music’s “Best Debut Jazz Recording of 2020” and the New York Times number one Jazz Recording of 2020.

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14
Album Review

Joel Ross: Nublues

Read "Nublues" reviewed by Chris May


Planning this, his fourth album as leader on Blue Note, Joel Ross set out to connect with a wider audience, to make things a little easier for listeners. The vibraphonist and composer says that, with hindsight, his previous work for the label has been too focused on the musicians in his band and rife with devices such as time and tempo changes which may have limited appeal for lay listeners. Thinking about the album during pandemic-enforced social isolation, Ross says ...

Album Review

Ben Wolfe: Unjust

Read "Unjust" reviewed by Maurizio Zerbo


Sul piano compositivo e dell'organizzazione sonora, Unjust è uno dei più luminosi gioielli jazzistici degli ultimi anni. Contrabbassista di ragguardevole talento, Ben Wolfe ribadisce nel suo decimo progetto discografico la predilezione per architetture ariose ma arzigogolate, dimostrando come la scrittura jazzistica possa captare lo spirito dei tempi nel rispetto dei classici modelli di riferimento. A dimostrare come il contrabbassista statunitense non si accontenti di riprodurre le idee altrui, l'impasto sonoro del suo ottetto trascende le atmosfere post-boppistiche e ...

1
Album Review

Miho Hazama M_Unit: Beyond Orbits

Read "Beyond Orbits" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


Uno degli eventi al Monterey Jazz Festival del 2021 è stato il concerto dell'M_Unit di Miho Hazama, la giovane compositrice e bandleader giapponese che s'è imposta tra le figure più innovative della sua generazione. In quell'occasione Hazama ha presentato la suite in tre movimenti “Exoplanet" che--incisa poi in studio--costituisce il fulcro del disco appena pubblicato dalla Edition Records. Chi conosce i suoi lavori di questi anni, sa quanto la scrittura della bandleader risulti coinvolgente per l'abilità di ...

Album Review

Jean-Paul Bourelly: Black Lives - From Generation to Generation

Read "Black Lives - From Generation to Generation" reviewed by Vic Albani


Doppio CD o doppio vinile prodotto in HI-Res e con packaging di lusso dalla Jammin'colorS, agenzia per artisti jazz, world, funk, alternativi, hip-hop, electro e sperimentali nonché etichetta indipendente. Il lavoro che ha pubblicato in tanta pompa magna è un ampio collage di musica nera realizzato da 25 musicisti africani, caraibici e afroamericani guidati dalla visione creativa di Stefany Calembert (compagna del bassista jazz Reggie Washington) e produttrice estemporanea dell'etichetta belga. A tutti è stato chiesto di comporre ...

4
Album Review

Johnathan Blake: Passage

Read "Passage" reviewed by Dave Linn


The drummer Johnathan Blake was born in Philadelphia in 1976. His father was the esteemed jazz violinist and educator John Blake Jr. who played in many diverse settings, (most notably Archie Shepp and McCoy Tyner), before releasing seven albums under his name. He died in 2014. Blake (the son) began studying music at a young age, later attending William Paterson University studying with Rufus Reid and Steve Wilson. He eventually received a master's in composition at Rutgers University where he ...

14
Album Review

Joe Farnsworth: In What Direction Are You Headed?

Read "In What Direction Are You Headed?" reviewed by Dave Linn


Joe Farnsworth grew up in a musical family and began playing drums at a young age. He later attended and graduated from William Patterson College in New Jersey, where the staff included Harold Mabern and Cedar Walton, who would prove instrumental in kick-starting his career. He landed a gig with Benny Golson that lasted eight years and went on to become an in-demand name. His style is deeply rooted in the bebop and hard bop traditions, characterized by a driving ...

8
Album Review

Ben Wolfe: Unjust

Read "Unjust" reviewed by Dave Linn


The history of modern jazz contains only a handful of bass players who have both led their own groups and been visionary in their compositions and approach. Charles Mingus, Charlie Haden, Dave Holland, Jaco Pastorius and Christian McBride are those who come to mind. With the release of his 10th album, Unjust, Ben Wolfe shows he belongs in that group. Wolfe began his musical career as a classical bassist and studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in ...

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Beyond This Place

Artwork Records
2024

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Billy Valentine And...

Flying Dutchman
2023

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Unjust

Resident Arts
2023

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In What Direction Are...

Smoke Sessions Records
2023

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Passage

Blue Note Records
2023

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Beyond Orbits

Edition Records
2023

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Terra Nova

From: In What Direction Are You...
By Immanuel Wilkins

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