Dan Wilkins / WHAT’S GOOD(?)
In our third edition of WHAT’S GOOD(?) we highlight Dan Wilkins: jazz artist, accomplished saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and educator. His influences range from Dexter Gordon to Pujyashri Deepakbhai Desai. Profile by Griffin Woodard.
If you were to see the titles Transfigured, Ebb and Flow, Of Distant Lands, Unraveled, and Soar, you might think you were about to read the treatises of a world explorer, Buddhist monk, or mystic poet. Although he may have certain qualities from each, Lehigh Valley, PA native Dan Wilkins is first and foremost a jazz artist; an accomplished saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and educator. His influences range from Dexter Gordon to Pujyashri Deepakbhai Desai, for example. Wilkins’ sound is like a breath of fresh, cold air which carries the distant majesty of ancient, candle-lit castles; his melodies speak like noble tales of warriors and pilgrims, ever on a journey.
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These titles are the compositions which comprise his debut album, Jnana Vijnana (Awake) (Minsi Ridge Records 2015). Most of the pieces were inspired by a profound experience Wilkins had following his attendance of a lecture given by Self-Realization leader Pujyashri Deepakbhai Desi (1953 -). The album features Patrick McGee on soprano saxophone, Mike Bono and Vaughn Stoffey on guitars, Davey Lantz and Kevin Bernstein on piano and keyboards, Daryl Johns on double bass, Jimmy Macbride on drum set, and Wilkins himself on tenor saxophone. The musicians, promising up-and-comers on the jazz scene, give pristine realizations of Wilkins compositional vision. Cornelia Street Café, the historic Greenwhich Village spot, was host to the album’s release concert on Feb. 3rd, 2016. Wilkins is also featured on Father & Son (SteepleChase Productions ApS 2012), a record with his father Skip Wilkins, the internationally renowned jazz pianist. Like father, like son, Wilkins has become an international performer and educator, gaining audiences everywhere from the Big Apple to the Czech Republic.
During his studies at the Manhattan School of Music, Wilkins began an active career performing at preeminent NYC venues such as the Iridium Jazz Club, 92nd Street Y, and Cornelia Street Café. Abroad, he has educated at both the Czech Jazz Workshop and the Kryoneri Jazz Workshop in 2012-2013, in addition to performing extensively in Germany, and Greece. While he is at home in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, he performs frequently at the Deer Head Inn, one of the oldest continuously operating jazz clubs in the country.
Wilkins musical voyage began early on, when his father first introduced him to the jazz tradition and legacy. Wilkins credits the luscious ballads of Stan Getz and Dexter Gordon for turning him on to the tenor saxophone. Following his passion, he became a pupil of NEA Jazz Master David Liebman and Caris Liebman, Director of Jazz Studies at Moravian College Neil Wetzel, and Benny Golson pianist, Mike LeDonne. His musical discipleship reached a zenith at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Steve Wilson, Rich Perry, Garry Dial, and Phil Markowitz.
Check out Dan Wilkins’ music on Apple Music, Spotify, CD Baby, Youtube, Amazon, Google Play, Soundcloud, or click here.
Posted on February 12, 2018, in Uncategorized and tagged art, bandleader, composer, creative, danwilkins, danwilkinsensemble, editorial, educator, ensemble, jazz, jazznews, lehigh, liveband, magazine, media, mediaplatform, music, musician, musicnews, news, pennsylvania, performer, saxophonist, shaolinjazz, studio, whatsgood, zine. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.