Immanual Wilkins first hit my radar with his acclaimed 2020 Blue Note debut, Omega. The brilliant alto saxophonist and composer follows that up with another sensational release, The 7th Hand.
For the uninitiated, Immanuel Wilkins grew up just outside of Philadelphia. After he graduated high school, he moved to New York City in 2015 to attend The Juilliard School. While there, he met trumpeter and composer Ambrose Akinmusire, who mentored Wilkins and showed him the proverbial ropes. He also met Jason Moran, the prominent pianist and composer who took the young saxophonist on tour, helping him further advance his skills and grow his own fanbase. Wilkins has since worked with the likes of Solange Knowles, Gretchen Parlato, Wynton Marsalis, and Gerald Clayton.
The 7th Hand consists of an hour-long suite comprised of seven movements that strive to bring them closer to complete vesselhood by the end, where the music would be entirely improvised and channeled collectively. The new release features his remarkable quartet of pianist Micah Thomas, bassist Daryl Johns, and drummer Kweku Sumbry, plus appearances from flutist Elena Pinderhughes and the Farafina Kan Percussion Ensemble.