Etuk Ubong Nigerian Jazz Heavyweight

“[Etuk’s] playing approach offers irresistible reminders of Miles Davis in the late ‘50s quartet recordings: a velvet tone and quiet inventiveness rather than brash grandstanding, but underpinned by quick fingers and an even quicker mind…But there’s clearly more…when the trumpet begins the note sequence is distinctively Nigerian; not American, and it’s further in that African direction that [Etuk’s] intelligent improvisation takes it.” – GWEN ANSELL

Etuk Ubong (born June 25, 1992) is an in-demand trumpeter, composer and bandleader. Hailing from Akwa Ibom State in southern Nigeria, but raised in Lagos, he started playing at the age of 14 thanks to his mother’s encouragement. He’s studied at the Peter King College of Music, Muson School of Music and the University of Cape Town. Etuk has performed professionally for close to a decade and it was on the bandstands of renowned musicians like Victor Olaiya, Femi Kuti and Buchi where he earned his stripes and developed a passion for music. Drawing inspiration from the jazz greats, afrobeat, highlife and ekombi, he adds that the sounds of the elements – water, wind and fire – inspire him, which is why he calls his music ‘Earth Music’. His compositions reflect his heritage and life philosophy of goodwill, peace and love to humanity.

Etuk started his tutelage under top Nigerian trumpeters Etop Adolphors and Victor Ademofe. When he was just 16, renowned highlife musician Victor Olaiya invited him to join his band and he played alongside the master for about four years. He then moved on to play with reggae sensation, Buchi for about two years. In 2012, his former teacher, Ade-mofe, invited him to play with him at the Lagos International Jazz Festival. Following that collaboration and aged just 21, he was handpicked by Femi Kuti to join his band, and he played at the New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja for the next two years. Moving on from Kuti’s Band, he played with the Art Ensemble of Lagos and various other ensembles in and around Nigeria. He has also performed with Pat Harbison, Ansyn Banks, Nduduzo Makhathini and in the ‘On Mass’ project, headed by Jamie Cullum, as part of the London Jazz Festival 2015.