Kamasi Washington’s explosive jazz-fusion elicits a rhythmic trance in his new “Hub-Tones” video. The track, which appears on the saxophonist’s recently issued double LP, Heaven and Earth, is an updated version of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s 1963 piece of the same name. Director Jenn Nkiru zooms in on three women locked in their hypnotic dances, focusing primarily on one woman who closes her eyes and shakes a tambourine throughout the shapeshifting nine-minute track. Nkiru – who also helmed Washington’s “Fists of Fury” – fills the video with nods to her heritage (like the Pan African Flag for the Relic Travellers’ Alliance) and assorted Easter eggs, including “make-up and crystal embellishment in the style of Nina Simone and the same lighting as seen in the courthouse hearings of Anita Hill.”
“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,” she said. “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.”
Washington added of the song, “‘Hub-Tones’ is me trying to connect my ancestors via music. 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.”
The acclaimed jazz artist will promote Heaven and Earth on a North American tour that launches Wednesday, October 17th in Seattle, Washington.