Yazz Ahmed is a British Bahraini trumpet and flugelhorn player.
Her music, through which she seeks to blur the lines between jazz, electronic sound design and the music of her mixed heritage, has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’.
In recent years she has lead her various ensembles in concerts around the UK and abroad, including in New York, Kuwait, Algiers, Berlin, Paris, Istanbul, Tunis and Amsterdam, and at major festivals such as WOMAD, Molde Jazz, Pori Jazz and Love Supreme.
Yazz has also recorded and performed with Radiohead, Lee Scratch Perry, ABC, Swing Out Sister, Joan as Police Woman, Tarek Yamani, Amel Zen and has toured the world with art-rock band, These New Puritans.
In 2012, Yazz represented Bahrain in London’s Cultural Olympiad, joining renowned musicians from the Arabian Gulf in collaboration with Transglobal Underground. This project, In Transit, was supported by the British Council and was performed in Dubai and London.
Yazz was awarded a jazz fellowship from Birmingham Jazzlines in 2014, 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, Birmingham. One year later the second performance marked Yazz’s debut in her paternal homeland at the Bahrain International Music Festival.
In 2015, Yazz was commissioned by the Tomorrow’s Warriors, with support from PRS Women Make Music, to write a suite inspired by courageous and influential women. Polyhymnia was premiered at the Purcell Room by a special all female ensemble at the WOW! Festival in March 2015.
During her year as an LSO Soundhub composer in 2016, Yazz explored writing music for her newly developed quarter-tone flugelhorn, which enables her to get closer to the spiritual nature of the ‘blue notes’ in Arabic music.
2017 saw the release of her second album, La Saboteuse, on Naim Records. The album caused quite a stir, gaining multiple rave reviews and making many ‘best of 2017’ lists around the world, including Jazz Album of the Year in The Wire magazine and achieving the number 18 spot in Bandcamp’s top 100 albums (all genres).
In August 2018 Yazz released an EP of remixes from La Saboteuse, featuring collaborations with Hector Plimmer, DJ Khalab and Blacksea Não Maya which has brought her music to a new audience.
Earlier this year Yazz was commissioned, by the Ligeti Quartet, alongside seven other composers, to write music inspired by modern astronomy, each focusing on a different planet in the solar system. The Planets 2018, created especially for planetariums, features Yazz’s composition Saturn and was performed around the UK during October 2018.
Yazz is currently working on completing the recording of her third album, Polyhymnia due for release in 2019.