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“[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 un-derpinned 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, Ademofe, 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.

He is a member of the International Trumpet Guild and represented Africa at its 2015 conference in Ohio. He was also selected as one of the 100 most influential people from Akwa Ibom State in 2016. In 2014 he established his own band which plays his original material. Etuk recalls that, “I’d played as a sideman for many years and felt I was ready to lead my own band. I wanted to play my own compositions because it is my passion, and I feel my duty, to share my message of peace and goodwill through my music.

I believe there is something for everyone in what I have to say.” He has performed extensively throughout Nigeria and South Africa at top jazz clubs and festivals. Following the success of his EP, Miracle (2016), Etuk released his debut album entitled Tales of Life in February 2017. He is joined by Timothy Ogunbiyi on keyboard, Taiwo Ibidun on trumpet, Raphael Lasisi on tenor saxophone, Emmanuel Akinloye on bass and Benjamin James on drums on this journey through his life. Tales of Life features eight original compositions that reflect his ambition to bring truth to music and a deep concern for justice, peace and equality. Tales of Life is available on iTunes, Deezer and Spotify.

“Tales of Life displays obvious growth of [Etuk’s] talents as he journeys his music far and wide…stay tuned as this innovative jazz trumpeter brings his African influences to his intriguing improvisational styles.”
CAROL MARTIN, All Jazz Radio