Counterstream Radio
Inspect the unexpected
Media on Demand
Browse Music and Interviews

The Jazz Gallery Mentoring Series: Vol.5

Pairing the future leaders of jazz with seasoned artists for mentorship both on and off the bandstand, in both music and the music business.

The Latest Update

Meet the Artists: Jonathan Finlayson & Immanuel Wilkins

Posted on September 27, 2018 by The Jazz Gallery

Media Gallery:

Like this? Login or register to make a playlist of your favorites pieces.
Like this? Login or register to make a playlist of your favorites pieces.

This fall, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to present the fifth edition of our Mentorship Series. Over the next few weeks, we’d like to introduce you to the three mentor-mentee pairs that will play a series of concerts in New York City and beyond.
First off, we have mentor Jonathan Finlayson and mentee Immanuel Wilkins. Hailing from Oakland, California, Finlayson has become one of the most acclaimed trumpeters working in New York for over the past decade. He has been a member of saxophonist Steve Coleman’s Five Elements since age 18, playing a vital role on records like “Harvesting Semblances and Affinities” and “Synovial Joints,” which were both named best albums of the year by the New York Times. In addition to his long-running association with Coleman, Finlayson has performed with several other critics poll-topping groups, including those led by guitarist Mary Halvorson, saxophonist Steve Lehman, and pianist David Virelles. Finlayson has released has two albums with his own ensemble, Sicilian Defense, and it is set to release his next one, 3 Times Round (which began as a 2014 Jazz Gallery commission), on October 5. At the top of the page, listen to Finalyson talk about his own musical education and approach to teaching.
Immanuel Wilkins grew up in Philadelphia, playing in church and studying saxophone at the city’s Clef Club of Jazz. He’s currently a student at Juilliard, but has already asserted himself as a new voice of note on the wider scene, touring with Jason Moran’s “Monk at Town Hall, 1959” project and pianist Gerald Clayton. He’s quickly established a deep rapport with his peers, like vibraphonist Joel Ross and pianist Micah Thomas, and was recently featured at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival on the collaborative project UNHEARD. Wilkins’s original composition “Warriors,” performed live at The Jazz Gallery, is featured at the top of the page.
For their mentorship project, Finlayson and Wilkins will perform music from 3 Times Round alongside saxophonist Brian Settles, pianist David Bryant, bassist John Hébert, and drummer Craig Weinrib. Their tour kicks off at The Jazz Gallery on Wednesday, October 10, with sets at 7:30 and 9:30 P.M., followed a set at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem on Thursday, October 11, at 7:00 P.M. Stay tuned for more dates in November.


Mentorship has always been a key theme throughout jazz history. Jazz musicians historically came up through informal channels, gaining invaluable experience by being alongside their heroes both on and off the bandstand and future generations of jazz will depend on the continuation of this community-minded mentoring tradition. Unfortunately, this culture of mentorship has steadily declined in recent decades, as formalized jazz education have replaced these direct processes of masters passing down wisdom and knowledge. To address this, The Jazz Gallery developed the Mentoring Series to cultivate a group of senior-level jazz musicians who could provide aspiring musicians with the opportunity to learn the music and business of jazz under their guidance.

Since the program’s inception in 2014, 13 pairs of mentors and emerging artists have presented series of concerts at venues across New York City and beyond; through partnerships with other presenters, young artists have embarked upon mini-tours to upstate New York, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn. Several mentees have also seen a marked rise in their career profile after participating in the program, including two recent mentees who were awarded Residency Commissions to compose and premiere original works at The Jazz Gallery (Maria Grand and Joel Ross).

In 2018, The Jazz Gallery will sponsor three mentors: Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Eric Revis (bass), and Ben Wendel (saxophone). We trust our mentors to address the needs of their mentees as they see fit, and approaches have included workshopping compositions by mentees, preparing classic repertoire united by a historical theme, or presenting original music by both mentor and mentee. Mentors are also responsible for hand-selecting an ensemble of seasoned veterans to accompany mentees, who are tasked with navigating unfamiliar and challenging musical situations. Through the program, mentees develop not only their musicianship, but also become savvier in managing their musical careers. They also have the opportunity to participate as educators themselves; in our most recent season, a performance at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia was preceded by a workshop given by a group led by Yosvany Terry (mentor) which included Daryl Johns (mentee). We look forward to expanding educational outreach in the coming seasons. Finally, mentees gain valuable exposure performing with high-profile artists, which is expanded through coverage on our official blog, Jazz Speaks; participating artists benefit from being interviewed and featured on the site, which was named #2 Jazz Blog on the internet by Feedspot.

We select our mentors from among the regular contributors to our flagship weekend performance series, Directions in 21st Century Jazz, and our sole requirement is the completion of a mini-tour of 4 concerts. Although these performances are dedicated to mentees’ artistic growth, we hold them to a high artistic standard. Consequently, this program is invite-only, with mentees selected by a curatorial panel composed of Artistic Director, Artistic Advisory Board, as well as our chosen mentors. Mentees are to be selected soon. 6 artists total, including mentors and mentees, will benefit from this upcoming season, while the audience for performances (12 in total) will be upwards of 1,000.

Project Media

The Seasons: November
Like this? Login or register to make a playlist of your favorites pieces.
Features: Ben Wendel

One of the 12 movements from Ben Wendel’s (proposed mentor) SEASONS. NOVEMBER was filmed at The Jazz Gallery in duo with Aaron Parks who has served as a mentor (mentoring Joel Ross) in 2014.

All of the Pieces
Like this? Login or register to make a playlist of your favorites pieces.
Features: Jonathan Finlayson

A selection from Jonathan Finlayson’s (proposed mentor) latest album MOVING STILL.

The Return of The Jitney Man
Like this? Login or register to make a playlist of your favorites pieces.
Features: Eric Revis

Eric Revis (proposed mentor) is seen and heard here with his own mentor Branford Marsalis, with whom Eric has been performing with for past 20 years. Eric has gained wealth of knowledge from his experience with Mr. Marsalis on and off the bandstands and he is primed to step up as a mentor himself.

Start and End Dates



New York, New York

1 update
Last update on September 27, 2018

Project Created By

New York, New York
“As a jazz journalist who has followed developments in New York for over thirty years, I can honestly say that jazz would not sound the way it does today had not The Jazz Gallery served as a locus for NYC’s polyglot musical community to exchange ideas and work on moving to the next step” – Ted…

In Collaboration With

Brooklyn, New York


Leave a Reply