Last night, Kamasi Washington made a stop in Seattle to play the Showbox on a tour behind his latest album Heaven and Earth. Today, he’s shared a video for album track “Hub-Tones,” which remakes trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's 1963 song of the same name. The clip was directed by Jenn Nkiru, who recently helmed Neneh Cherry’s video for “Kong” and directed the second unit for Ricky Saiz on Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s iconic “APESHIT” video.
"Hub-Tones is me trying to connect my ancestors via music,” says Washington. “As an African-American, a lot of us don't know the country of our origin, that's why most of us take on the ideology of Pan-Africanism. I was trying to connect to my ancestors by connecting African rhythms with a Freddie Hubbard tune which gave me that connection in a different way."
Nkiru had this to say: "With the visual for 'Hub-Tones,' I wanted to invoke the immediate ecstatic connection it gave me: There's a traditional ceremony called Oboni in the Ikwerre tribe, my parents' tribe - the tribe of my heritage. The idea is through repetition, instrumentation and movement, to channel spirit, going deeper and deeper with the changing of each tone within the music till it becomes hypnotic and transcendent. I felt this level of immediate connection to 'Hub-Tones' plus with this being a Freddie Hubbard cover and him being the king of tones in jazz it all felt so symbiotic and fated. I then went about giving the women featured the choreography, movement and codes to take us deeper into that spirit-space. I was also thinking about what an abstract Pan - African connection could feel like so I included the Pan African Flag For The Relic Travellers' Alliance by artist Larry Achiampong, make-up and crystal adornment in the style of Nina Simone and the lighting seen in the courthouse of the hearings of Anita Hill and of course-the call to Nation Time emblazoned on the sashes of each women. There are other hidden gems too but I'll allow the audience to uncover them."
Heaven and Earth is out now via Young Turks. Below, watch the video for “Hub-Tones” and Kamasi Washington’s KEXP in-studio performance from 2016.
EDIT: A previous version of this article credit Nkiru as a collaborator on Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s "APESHIT" music video, her role has since been clarified as directing the second unit.
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