I recently had the chance to meet up with saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins at the Nice Jazz Festival. We had a great conversation about what he worked on to develop such a beautiful sound, his backstory and how he started playing saxophone, the setup he plays on, and how he was able to get his career off the ground during the pandemic.
For more info and to check out tour dates, visit http://www.immanuelwilkins.com/
Immanuel Wilkins’ Dedication to Craft
Immanuel Wilkins’ remarkable saxophone tone didn’t come overnight; it was forged through years of dedicated practice and unwavering commitment to his craft. He emphasizes the importance of consistent practice and urges aspiring saxophonists to immerse themselves in the instrument daily. His relentless pursuit of excellence serves as a testament to the notion that mastery in music is an ongoing journey.
The Significance of Listening
Immanuel stresses the vital role that listening plays in shaping one’s musical identity. He highlights the need to absorb a wide array of musical genres, not just limited to jazz. By immersing himself in diverse musical styles, Wilkins has been able to draw inspiration and unique elements that he incorporates into his saxophone playing. This eclectic approach allows him to create a distinctive tone that sets him apart in the jazz world.
The Power of Transcribing
Transcribing is a fundamental practice for any aspiring jazz saxophonist, and Wilkins is no exception. He emphasizes the importance of transcribing solos and melodies from jazz legends and other instrumentalists. Through this process, he not only hones his technical skills but also developed a deep understanding of phrasing and improvisation. Wilkins encourages saxophonists to transcribe not only saxophone solos but also those of other instruments to broaden their musical vocabulary.
Developing a Personal Sound
One of the most intriguing aspects of Immanuel Wilkins’ saxophone journey is his quest for a personal sound. He advises musicians to avoid merely emulating their idols and instead strive to find their unique voice on the instrument. This pursuit involves experimenting with different techniques, tones, and expressions until one discovers a sound that resonates with their inner musical identity. His golden saxophone tone is a testament to his success in this endeavor.
Importance of a Solid Foundation
In addition to his emphasis on personal expression, Immanuel highlights the necessity of building a strong technical foundation. He recommends that aspiring saxophonists invest time in mastering the fundamentals of the instrument, including scales, arpeggios, and proper embouchure. A solid technical base provides the freedom to explore creative avenues and ensures a solid foundation for musical innovation.
Collaboration and Mentorship
Immanuel has credited his growth as a musician to collaboration with other talented musicians and mentors. He emphasizes the significance of surrounding oneself with experienced individuals who can provide guidance and valuable feedback. Collaborative experiences, whether in bands or workshops, can expose musicians to different perspectives and challenge them to evolve as artists.
Immanuel Wilkins’ golden saxophone tone is not a static achievement but a dynamic and evolving aspect of his musical journey. He encourages saxophonists to embrace change and continuously seek ways to refine their sound. This relentless pursuit of improvement is what keeps a musician’s artistry fresh and exciting. Aspiring saxophonists can draw inspiration from his insights and apply them to their own musical paths.