Omega

Immanuel Wilkins

Omega

After strong showings on Joel Ross’ Blue Note debut, KingMaker, and Harish Raghavan’s Calls for Action, alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins makes his own Blue Note debut, Omega, at age 22. His producer is Jason Moran, who also began his storied career on Blue Note back in 1999. The album seizes attention from the start with the uptempo “Warriors,” foregrounding the beautiful blend of Wilkins’ horn and the radiant piano of Micah Thomas (who also released his debut, Tide, around the same time). Bassist Daryl Johns and drummer Kweku Sumbry achieve an energized and nimble rhythm-section rapport, exactly what Wilkins’ flowing yet information-rich music requires. There’s a strong social message as well: “Ferguson” and “Mary Turner,” both subtitled “An American Tradition,” draw a connection between racial injustice today and horrific lynchings of the not-so-distant past. In the four-part suite at the album’s heart, we get a glimpse into Wilkins’ long-form compositional language, boundless in its dynamic range and yearning lyrical expression.

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