Yazz Ahmed

Yazz Ahmed, a trumpeter and flugelhorn player, was born in 1983 in Carshalton in Surrey. Yazz’s mother, a ballet dancer with the Royal Ballet, would play classical music around the house, while Yazz’s grandfather Terry Brown, a jazz trumpeter who was successful in the 1950s, would share his stories and music. Terry was a member of the Tubby Hayes Seven, Ronnie Scott and Jimmy Skidmore as well as many other British jazz musicians in the 1950’s. Terry was later a record producer at Pye Records and Philips Records. Yazz has always loved music. Yazz began taking trumpet lessons at school when she was nine years old. Yazz felt a connection to the trumpet immediately and was able to play the instrument with ease. Yazz was a member of the school orchestra, and the local music center, the Merton Music Foundation. Yazz went on to earn a music degree at Kingston University and was awarded a scholarship in 2005 to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s postgraduate jazz course. Yazz formed a quintet with fellow students during her time at the Guildhall School of Music. The group evolved and changed over time as the music developed. Alam Nathoo, tenor sax player, John Bailey, pianist, Jay Darwish, and George Hart, drummer, formed the quintet. The group continued to perform at London jazz venues like Charlie Wright’s or The Vortex. Yazz’s quintet is heard on her debut album Finding My Way Home. They play two of her original compositions, Flip Flop and Conciliation. Suntara Records released Finding My Way Home in August 2011. It features Janek Gwizdala, a bass virtuoso and Shabaka Hutchings as clarinetist. This CD features compositions and improvisations that explore her Arabic heritage from her childhood in Bahrain. They contrast these with classic British jazz from 1950s, which was her soundtrack to teenage years and her entry into improvised music. The first recording session was held on November 16, 2008. Yazz booked Janek Gwizdala as her old friend. Janek was someone Yazz hadn’t seen in a while since she studied at the Merton Music Foundation. Yazz wrote a piece specifically for the session, entitled Affirmation. Janek and Yazz also tried out four different musical ideas over one Arabic scale. Yazz, an unusual instrumental duo chose a few pieces with strong basslines and recorded Miles Davis’s So What and Stan Sulzmann’s Birthdays, Birthdays. Her September 2009 recording session was her springboard to her new quintet. This recording session included Chris Fish (cello), Corrina Sister (percussion), Shabaka Hutchings (bass clarinet and Bb clarinet), Simon Hale – Fender Rhodes and Laurie Cottle (bass guitar). The Brit Jazz Festival 2010 at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club was a great success. This band received rave reviews. Shabaka Hutchings (bass clarinet, tenor sax), Naadia Sheriff (Fender Rhodes), Dudley Phillips (bass guitar) and Jim Hart (16 drums) were the members of the band. Jazzwise Magazine rated Yazz as one of the top musicians to watch in 2011. Yazz is also a member of her own quintet and works with Lewis Wright (vibraphonist), Dave Manington (bassist), and Corrina Sivester (drum kit and percussion). They form a new quartet, as well as sometimes a trio. Yazz is a flugelhorn player on Radiohead’s album The King of Limbs. She was also featured in the filming of The King Of Limbs Live From The Basement in July 2011. Yazz has played with a variety of jazz musicians including Rufus Reid and Toshiko Akiyoshi. Yazz has also recorded and performed with Jack Penate and Lee ‘Scratch” Perry. Yazz is influenced by Ingrid Jensen and Tim Garland, Kenny Wheeler, Kenny Wheeler, Ron Horton, Tim Garland, and Rabih Abbou-Khalil. from www.sandybrownjazz.co.uk

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