Yazz Ahmed is a British-Bahraini trumpet player and composer. Through her music, she seeks to blur the lines between jazz and electronic sound design, bringing together the sounds of her mixed heritage in what has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’.
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Yazz has led her ensembles in performances across the UK & Europe and further afield in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, USA & Canada. She has also enchanted audiences at major festivals such as WOMAD, Love Supreme, NYC Winter Jazz Fest & Pori Jazz.
Her career is studded with high profile collaborations, which have seen her record and perform with the likes of Radiohead, Lee Scratch Perry, Transglobal Underground, Susheela Raman, Tarek Yamani, Amel Zen, including a world tour with These New Puritans.
As a guest soloist and composer, Yazz has performed with Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra, NYJO, NYOS, and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama Jazz Orchestra.
Alhaan al Siduri, a suite written with support from Birmingham Jazzlines, premiered in October 2015 at CBSO Centre, Birmingham. This suite is influenced by Yazz’s Bahraini roots, drawing from the folk music of the Bahraini pearl divers and traditional wedding songs sung by women. The second performance of this suite marked Yazz’s debut in her paternal homeland, at the Bahrain International Music Festival, 2016.
Also in 2015, Tomorrow’s Warriors, with support from PRS Women Make Music, commissioned Yazz to write a suite inspired by courageous and influential women. Polyhymnia was premiered by the Nu Civilisation Orchestra at the WOW! Festival on International Women’s Day in March 2015.
During her year as an LSO Soundhub composer in 2016, Yazz was able to explore writing music for her newly developed quarter-tone flugelhorn. This is a unique instrument, enabling her to get closer to the spiritual nature of the ‘blues notes’ in Arabic music, deeply infusing her sound with that of her heritage.