One of the coolest and coolest things to come out of African jazz in recent years is undoubtedly the “earth music” of Etuk Ubong, trumpeter, composer, singer and band leader from Lagos, Nigeria.
By merging the classic styles of afrobeat and highlife with Ekombi ritual percussion, the result is an extremely vibrant and energetic yet deeply spiritual jazz sound, which spontaneously becomes a vehicle for positive and social messages.
The expressive urgency and freshness of Etuk Ubong is in tune with the most progressive minds of the contemporary jazz scene, especially with London characters such as Sons Of Kemet, Shabaka Hutchings and Gilles Peterson. At the same time Etuk Ubong is deeply rooted in the social and cultural reality of his city Lagos, and in its rich musical tradition of which it is an expression.
In his biography, after his musical studies, the experiences in the bands of historical African artists stand out such as Victor Olaiya (old highlife star recently passed away), the great South African pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, the gospel-reggae singer Buchi, and the eldest son of Fela, Femi Kuti.
Etuk’s affinities with the story of Fela Kuti emerge in various aspects, not least the choice of opening and managing a club in Lagos with an uncompromising programming: his club “The Truth” recalls the experience of the legendary “Shrine” of Fela.
His most recent album “Africa Today” was produced by the Night Dreamer label, specializing in the production of albums in “direct-to-disc” mode: the tracks were recorded during a live session, mixing and recording the master for the vinyl print directly while running. In the track list, songs such as African struggle, Mass corruption and Purpose of creation, express the artist’s political and at the same time spiritual imagery, expressed through the hard bop approach to the trumpet and through the lyrics of his songs.