Blending jazz through an old-school approach
By Stephanie Faudoa
PLOVER – Great Northern Distilling will showcase the talent of Immanuel Wilkins on March 26.
Immanuel Wilkins – an American saxophonist, composer and arranger – is noted for how he can express himself through his music with “empathy and conviction.”
Wilkins’s album “Omega” has received countless reviews.
“Listeners were introduced to this riveting sound with his acclaimed debut album Omega, which was named the No. 1 Jazz Album of 2020 by The New York Times,” his website states.
Spectrum Review adds, “An album like Omega is immeasurably affecting in our current era, taking on the social issues revolving around race and racism in this country today, showing not only the horrors inflicted on countless individuals over the years but also the stolid strength of character exhibited by a people who have been put down time and time again. It’s a lofty goal for a debut outing as a leader, but Immanuel Wilkins is more than capable of delivering on the album’s premise. Omega is truly a thing of beauty and a much-needed bit of artistic reckoning in 2020.”
Central Wisconsin Jazz Critic Travis Rogers, who was always involved in jazz journalism, writing concert reviews, and album reviews, brings to light the beauty of Wilkins and how he adds a personal touch to his music.
“[Immanuel Wilkins] has a very personal approach. I was just listening to an interview with a guy named Keith Jarrett, and they were talking about music in the 60s and before and music today, and he said that he couldn’t become a jazz musician now because it is kind of sterile. They focus on being flawless. Back in the day, when he was becoming a musician, it was about the person and personality, and that’s the way that Wilkins is. Is that it is an old-school approach, and it is the person that comes through its excellence, yeah absolutely, the excellence is there. But there is something very personal about his approach,” Rogers explained.
Wilkins has a way of weaving various genres together, which makes him a big name in jazz.
“With Wilkins, there is a blending of straight-up jazz and other sounds like jazz and blues and even some gospel. That’s become an incredibly important thing. It’s not just straight-up jazz. Thanks to Miles Davis, the blending of jazz with even like rock n’ roll rhythms and time signatures began to put a premium on those who could cross over between different genres of music, and Wilkins is absolutely brilliant at that. And to move in between those genres so flawlessly. If you were to look at a chart of the music, you could almost draw a line of going where the jazz begins and when the transition of blues and gospel takes place. All of that stuff getting woven in and out of the jazz structure is really, really important. Wilkins does that beautifully, crossing over between music like that,” stated Rogers.
Wilkins’s way of music transcends people into a world that is much more than just music notes, and it is a way to become part of the music.
Rogers adds,”More people should know [Immanuel Wilkins] as a household name.”
Wilkins will perfom at Great Northern Distilling, 1740 Park Ave., Plover, on March 26.