20 Jan Yazz Ahmed among the 25 artists who can define the future of jazz for Downbeat Magazine
The prestigious jazz magazine Downbeat elected Yazz Ahmed as one of twenty-five artists who can define the coming decades of jazz. The trumpeter is among names like Nubya Garcia (saxophonist), Verónica Swift (vocalist), and saxophonist/clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings.
Yazz Ahmed is part of the “new British jazz” scene, but her distinct cultural heritage differentiates her work. La Saboteuse (2017) and the latest Polyhymnia (2019), show that it is not easy to categorize Ahmed: although her starting point is in fact jazz, the richness and complexity of the soundscapes she draws – somewhere between Arab psychedelism and electronic music – place the thirty-seven-year-old trumpeter in a very unique musical universe.
“I hope that through my music I can bring people together, building bridges between cultures, and changing perceptions about women in jazz and people of Muslim heritage.” Yazz Ahmed
Yazz Ahmed lived in Bahrain until she emigrated to London at the age of nine. She started playing the trumpet from an early age, encouraged by her grandfather, Terry Brown, a jazz trumpeter. In 2011, Ahmed recorded Finding My Way Home, her first album and a first invitation to explore her singular universe. Yazz’s second work, La Saboteuse, was released in 2017 by Naim Records and was considered Jazz Album of the Year by The Wire magazine. Polyhymnia, released in 2019, is Ahmed’s third studio album and, like her previous works, has caused thunderous waves in the world of jazz. In addition to this recognition by Downbeat, Yazz Ahmed accumulated three other distinctions in 2020: Jazz FM – Album of the Year (for Polyhymnia), Jazz FM – UK Jazz Act of the Year and the Ivor Novello Award for Innovation.
Recently, Ahmed released a new iteration of Polyhymnia: an EP composed of electronic remixes, made in collaboration with producers such as DJ Plead, Asmara and Surly. The EP can be heard here.
“Since working on La Saboteuse Remixed, I have had an ever-growing interest in electronic music and the way that it is created. My explorations have begun to influence the way that I compose, manipulating found sounds to create something fresh and perhaps unexpected. I love the endless possibilities that arise when blending technology with the instrumental music of my heritage” Yazz Ahmed
Yazz Ahmed is represented in Portugal by Locomotiva Azul