Sandy Brown Jazz

YAZZ AHMED

 

Yazz AhmedBorn in 1983, in Carshalton, Surrey, trumpet and flugelhorn player Yazz Ahmed grew up surrounded by music. Yazz’s mother was a ballet dancer for the Royal Ballet and would play classical music - as well as jazz - around the house while Yazz’s grandfather, Terry Brown, a successful jazz trumpeter in the 1950s, would share with Yazz the music and stories from his days on the road.

During the 1950’s, Terry performed with the original John Dankworth Seven, Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott, Jimmy Skidmore, Phil Seamen, and many other British jazz musicians. Terry later became a record producer for Pye and Philips Records.
Tubby Hayes, Terry Brown and Jimmy Skidmore

 

Tubby Hayes (tenor), Terry Brown (trumpet), Jimmy Skidmore (alto)

 

Yazz has always had a love for music. By the age of nine she had started to take up a personal interest when she began trumpet lessons at school. Yazz found an instant connection with the trumpet and took to the instrument naturally. During her time at school, Yazz played in the school orchestra and at her local music centre - the Merton Music Foundation. She went on to study for a degree in music at Kingston University and in 2005, won a scholarship to study on the postgraduate jazz course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.Yazz Ahmed


During her studies at the Guildhall School of Music, Yazz put together a quintet made up of fellow students which later developed and changed as the music grew and evolved. The quintet line-up included Alam Nathoo playing tenor sax, pianist, John Bailey, on double bass, Jay Darwish and drummer, George Hart. This group went on to play at many London jazz venues such as Charlie Wright’s and The Vortex. Yazz’s quintet can be heard on her debut album Finding My Way Home, playing two original compositions: Conciliation and Flip Flop.

Finding My Way Home also features bass virtuoso, Janek Gwizdala and clarinetist, Shabaka Hutchings, and was released in August 2011 on Suntara Records. The CD is a collection of compositions and improvisations exploring her Arabic Yazz Ahmed Finding My Way Homeheritage, from her early childhood memories in Bahrain, and contrasting these with the classic British jazz from the 1950s which was the sound track to her teenage years and her gateway into improvised music.

The first recording session took place on November 16th 2008. Yazz booked an old friend of hers, Janek Gwizdala, who she hadn’t seen since her days of playing and studying at the Merton Music Foundation. Yazz composed a piece especially for the session named Affirmation. Yazz and Janek also experimented with different musical themes over one Arabic scale to make up four spontaneous compositions. Being an unusual instrumental duo, Yazz also choose a couple of pieces with strong bass lines and recorded Miles Davis’s So What, and Stan Sulzmann’s Birthdays, Birthdays.

The final recording session in September 2009, was the spring board to her newly formed quintet. The line-up on this recording session featured Chris Fish - cello, Corrina Silvester – percussion, Shabaka Hutchings – bass clarinet and Bb clarinet, Simon Hale – Fender Rhodes, and Laurie Cottle – bass guitar. Click here to sample the album.

This new band had the privilege of opening the 2010 Brit Jazz Festival at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, which received great reviews. The members of the band on the night were Shabaka Hutchings – bass clarinet and tenor sax, Naadia Sheriff – Fender Rhodes, Dudley Phillips – bass guitar and Jim Hart – drums.

As a result of the night and well received feedback, Yazz was tipped as a musician to look out for in 2011 by Jazzwise Magazine.

As well as running her own quintet Yazz also works with Lewis Wright, vibraphonist, Dave Manington, bassist, and Corrina Silvester, drum kit and percussion, forming a new quartet and as a trio at times.

Yazz plays flugelhorn on Radiohead’s album The King of Limbs (click here) and in early 2011 was featured in the filming of The King Of Limbs, Live From The King of Limbs albumBasement, which was then screened worldwide during July.

Yazz has also played alongside a number of internationally acclaimed jazz musicians, including Toshiko Akiyoshi, Rufus Reid, Henry Lowther, Mark Nightingale, Steve Williamson and Sir John Dankworth. Away from her own projects, Yazz has recorded and performed with, Max Romeo, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Jack Penate, the Manic Street Preachers, Tomorrows Warriors, the Urban Soul Orchestra, the London Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Jamaica.

Yazz’s influences include Kenny Wheeler, Ingrid Jensen, Ron Horton, Tim Garland and Rabih Abou-Khalil.

Yazz Ahmed

 

Yazz debut album, Finding My Way Home, is now available on cdbaby.comjazzcds.co.ukitunes – amazon.com as well as direct through her website - www.yazzahmed.com

Yazz plays instruments by Eclipse exclusively - www.eclipsetrumpets.com She also plays a mammoth tusk flugelhorn mouthpiece custom made by Giles Whittome.

© Yazz Ahmed and Sandy Brown Jazz 2009-2015
© Photographs Yazz Ahmed

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