Villanos del Jazz Villanos del Jazz
If there’s one thing Immanuel Wilkins has had on his side since he embarked on his still fledgling career, it’s the media. The New York Times said that his first album Omega (2020), was the best jazz record of the year. Pitchfork said that he “composes ocean-deep jazz epics”. Are they exaggerating? All you have to do to answer that question is listen to that album or his latest offering The 7th Hand (2022), both released on Blue Note and recorded with Micah Thomas on piano, Daryl Johns on bass and Kweku Sumbry on drums.
The Philadelphia-born saxophonist may only be 27 but he’s already made a name for himself, and a big one at that. In addition to his own albums, which are imbued with a concept of libertarian jazz that uses gospel and blues as catalysts rather than constraints, he has also collaborated with Jason Moran, EJ Strickland, The Count Basie Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis. In 2009, when he was still a teenager, he had the opportunity to perform the national anthem at a Philadelphia Eagles American football game: who would have thought that a few years later he would be chronicling the plight of the African-American community from a spiritual point of view on albums as moving and scathing as the ones he has recorded in recent years.