Immanuel Wilkins is a Saxophonist, Composer, Arranger, and Bandleader from the greater Philadelphia-area. While growing up, he honed his skills in the church and studied in programs dedicated to teaching jazz music like the Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts. Moving to New York in 2015, Immanuel proceeded to earn his bachelor’s degree in Music at Juilliard (studying with the saxophonists Bruce Williams and the late Joe Temperley) while simultaneously establishing himself as an in-demand sideman, 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 and having a working group for over four years has allowed Immanuel to grow both as a composer and 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 Immanuel to pursue his goal of being a positive force in music and 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, Immanuel’s mission is to create a sound that has a profound spiritual and emotional impact which will allow him to become a great leader in the long lineage of jazz musicians. Through studying the human pathos of the music and the culture of jazz, Immanuel aspires to bring people together through the commonality of love and belief in this music. His debut recording, Omega — produced by Jason Moran— will be released on Blue Note Recordings on August 7, 2020.