Immanuel Wilkins channels ‘higher power’ with highly anticipated The 7th Hand
The 7th Hand explores “the relationships between presence and nothingness” throughout an hour-long, seven-movement suite. With his compositions, Wilkins and his bandmates channel these themes with a progressive intensity that culminates in collective free-flowing improvisation. “It’s the idea of being a conduit for the music as a higher power that actually influences what we’re playing,” the sax player says.
For Wilkins, spirituality is a strong influence on The 7th Hand, its title derived from a question immersed in Biblical symbolism. In the album’s conception, he wondered: If the number six represents the extent of human possibility, how can he connect to a seventh element of the divine to possess his quartet and express it through sound?
Wilkins’ choice of imagery on the album’s cover is just as intentional, critically challenging and reimagining past conventions. “I wanted to remix the Southern Black baptism, and also provide critique on what is considered sanctified and who can be baptized.”
The 7th Hand is a conceptually dense project, revealing layer by layer a clearer glimpse into the quartet’s collective truth as the album progresses. “Each movement chips away at the band until the last movement — just one written note,” says Wilkins. “The goal of what we’re all trying to get to is nothingness, where the music can flow freely through us.”
Here’s the track listing:
- Don’t Break (feat. Farafina Kan Percussion Ensemble)
- Fugitive Ritual, Selah
- Witness (feat. Elena Pinderhughes)
- Lighthouse (feat. Elena Pinderhughes)
Immanuel Wilkins’ The 7th Hand is out now via Blue Note.