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 ensembles in concerts in London, New York, Kuwait, Ukraine, Algeria, Berlin, Paris, Istanbul and Amsterdam.
Ahmed 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, Ahmed 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.
Ahmed 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 Ahmed’s debut in her paternal homeland at the Bahrain International Music Festival.
In 2015, she was commissioned by Tomorrow’s Warriors, with the support of PRS Women Make Music, to write a suite inspired by courageous and influential female role models. Polyhymnia was premiered at the Purcell Room by a special all female line-up of the Nu Civilisation Orchestra at the WOW! Festival in March 2015.
During her recent year as an LSO Soundhub composer, she 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.
Her first album, Finding My Way Home, 2011, marked the beginning of her exploration of fusing jazz and Arabic music. This was followed in 2017 by her critically acclaimed album, La Saboteuse (Naim), which has brought her to the attention of a global audience.
Ahmed is supported by PRS For Music Foundation and has recently been awarded funding towards recording her Polyhymnia suite.