Wednesday 15th March
Since releasing Finding My Way Home in 2011, British-Bahraini trumpet player, Yazz Ahmed, has emerged as a distinctive voice on the UK Jazz scene, as a soloist, band leader and composer.
In recent years she has lead her quartet and her seven-piece, Ahmed Family Hafla, in concerts around the UK and abroad, including Kuwait, Ukraine, Algeria and at the 2016 Berlin Jazz festival. She has also played with Jazz Jamaica, The Human Revolution Orchestra, Arun Ghosh, Courtney Pine, and Troyk-estra.
In the field of commercial music Yazz has performed with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Joan as Police Woman, ABC, Swing Out Sister, Transglobal Underground and has toured the world with art-rock band, These New Puritans. She plays flugelhorn on Radiohead’s album The King of Limbs and features on the DVD The King Of Limbs Live From The Basement. Her own music has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’, and seeks to blur the lines between jazz, electronic sound design and the music of her Arabic heritage.
In 2015 she was commissioned by Tomorrow’s Warriors to write a suite inspired by courageous and influential female role models. Polyhymnia was premiered at the Purcell Room at the WOW! Festival. Yazz has recently been awarded funding from PRS For Music Foundation towards recording this suite, which is due for release in 2018. In 2014 she was awarded a fellowship from Birmingham Jazzlines, who supported her during the course of a year in writing a major new suite, Alhaan al Siduri, premiered in October 2015 at the CBSO Centre. One year later the second performance marked Yazz’s debut in her paternal homeland at the Bahrain International Music Festival.
During her recent year as an LSO Soundhub composer, she explored writing music for her newly developed quarter-tone flugelhorn to enable her to get closer to the spiritual nature of the blue notes in Arabic music.
The quintet specially assembled for tonight’s show combines members of her Hafla band, Ralph Wyld, Dave Manington and Martin France, with her frequent collaborator, the sensational ‘vocal sculptor’, Jason Singh.
Tonight’s music will include a selection of compositions from her second album, La Saboteuse, soon to be released on Naim Records. Uniquely the album is being rolled out in four streaming-only ‘chapters’, culminating in a full physical release on gatefold vinyl, CD and digital download in May.
You can hear a preview of The Space Between the Fish and The Moon (La Saboteuse, Chapter One) here:
‘Ambitious, extended, multi-textured pieces, in which she skilfully deploys larger forces, showcase a considerable and – most important – highly individual instrumental and compositional talent’ - Chris Parker, London Jazz News.
‘Her opalescent flugelhorn carried strong echoes of Kenny Wheeler’ - Fred Grand, Jazz Journal
‘Her set was an ethereal experience’ - PlayFewerNotes
‘Ahmed’s playing seemed flawless and her tone mellifluous.’ Patrick Hadfield, London Jazz News
‘Ahmed has a true tone and spins long lines over complex, self-penned structures’
Mike Hobart, Financial Times