February 9, 2021

Winner North American Edition 2020

Immanuel Wilkins

Immanuel Wilkins grew up in the greater Philadelphia-area where he first honed his saxophone skills in church and various programs dedicated to teaching jazz music. In 2015 he moved to New York to study at Juilliard School of Music – this is also where he started leading his first jazz quartet and really started developing as a composer and arranger. Meanwhile he also established himself as an in-demand sideman. Immanuel impressed the jury with a high level of sophistication and maturity in his playing– he respectfully reflects various musical influences in his performance while charting into new territory with a sense of lyricism in his playing that is reminiscent of the Jazz greats that came before him such as Charlie Parker and Ornette Coleman. JazzTimes labeled Immanuel’s debut album Omega as ‘the most important debut jazz recording in years’ and we are proud to award Immanuel the ‘LetterOne RISING STARS Jazz Award’ 2020 and thereby supporting him on his journey ahead.

CLICK HERE to watch the award ceremony including performances by Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington and Christian McBride, hosted by Jamie Cullum.