Etuk Ubong’s new single Purpose Of Creation and bonus track Etuk’s Ritual are out today, ahead of his June album release – Africa Today on Night Dreamer. These afrobeat backed tracks blend highlife and jazz, with Ubong’s Nigerian heritage heard firmly at the fore of these engaging compositions. The trumpeter, composer and bandleader has developed an original style he calls “Earth Music” and is hailed by Seun Kuti as “one of the best things to come out of Lagos”.
Here’s a live version at Etuk’s own venue in Nigeria, The Truth:
On the new single, Ubong on trumpet and vocals leads a five-piece brass section, with keys supplied by Vels Trio’s Jack Stephenson-Oliver.
Ubong is a leading light on London’s thriving jazz scene, as well as in Nigeria, sounding like an afrobeat luminary inspired by the greats – both musically and politically (take 2018 song Black Debtors on Afro7 for example) – while sounding fresh, jazzwise and politically charged. It’s a potent combination indeed.
Ubong’s links to other jazz nobility of the UK scene – such as the Shabaka Hutchings-led Sons of Kemet, particularly Theon Cross of the band; ‘jazz happening’ Steam Down; and stalwarts like Gilles Peterson and We Out Here, etc – are extremely exciting, but crucially, he has also launched his own space in Lagos, The Truth, wowing crowds with his energetic sound, and unmistakably Nigerian. It is the most prolific venue in the capital, since Fela Kuti’s Shrine and Ubong performs there regularly. As he explodes in London and the UK – after numerous performances, including an acclaimed session at Steam Down, residencies at Jazz re:freshed, the Royal Festival Hall and We Out Here Festival – Ubong looks set to be a truly global star. Night Dreamer is home to Ubong as his debut album drops and he rides a wave of success across the UK, Nigeria and South Africa – surely further boosting this label’s rapid and impressive establishment onto the jazz landscape.