Friday 8 May. 20:00 – 22:30.
At Crookes Social Club
Full £15, Over 60s, disabled and unemployed £12, Student with NUS card £8, 15 – 17 year olds £3, Under 15s Free. CASH ONLY on door.
Advance tickets available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/sheffield-jazz at the same net price as on the door.
Yazz Ahmed: trumpet/ flugelhorn; George Crowley: bass clarinet; Ralph Wyld: vibraphone; Naadia Sheriff: piano; Dudley Phillips: bass; Corrina Silvester: percussion; Martin France: drums
A welcome return following her hugely popular 2018 Crookes gig. Yazz Ahmed’s 2017 album “La Saboteuse” was widely judged to be a jazz album of the year, blending western and Middle Eastern influences. This is a rare opportunity to experience Yazz’s new album “Polyhymnia”, performed by her Hafla Band. The music is a celebration of female courage, determination and creativity. “Rich, powerful, colourful, exciting and highly evocative. Ahmed’s most ambitious and most successful work to date”…The Jazz Mann. Expect undulating rhythms, melody resonant with the sounds and sensations of the Middle East and sonorous trumpet lines.
Yazz Ahmed is a British-Bahraini trumpet player and composer who seeks to blur the lines between jazz, electronic sound design, bringing together the sounds of her mixed heritage. Her music has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’.
Yazz says: “Whilst gathering ideas for my composition, I came across the character of Polyhymnia, the ancient Greek Muse of music, poetry and dance: a Goddess for the arts. Perhaps inspired by her, I conceived the form of a suite of movements, each dedicated to women of outstanding qualities, role models, with whom I felt a strong connection.”
“By sharing my musical response to the stories and achievements of these exceptional women, and celebrating the creativity and talents of my co-contributors, I hope to inspire others, in the words of Malala, “to be brave, to embrace the strength within themselves and realise their full potential”.
Yazz has led her various ensembles in concerts worldwide, including performances in the UK, New York, Toronto, Kuwait, Algiers, Berlin, Köln, Paris, Istanbul, Tunis and Amsterdam. She has also enchanted audiences at major festivals such as WOMAD, Molde Jazz, Pori Jazz and Love Supreme.
Her career is studded with high profile collaborations, which have seen her record and perform with the likes of Radiohead, Lee Scratch Perry, ABC, Swing Out Sister, Joan as Police Woman, Tarek Yamani, Amel Zen including a world tour with These New Puritans. Most recently she appeared as guest soloist and composer with Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.
Alhaan al Siduri, a suite written with support from Birmingham Jazzlines, premiered in October 2015 at CBSO Centre, Birmingham. This suite is influenced by Yazz’s Bahraini roots, drawing from the folk music of the Bahraini pearl divers and traditional wedding songs sung by women. The second performance of this suite marked Yazz’s debut in her paternal homeland, at the Bahrain International Music Festival, 2016.
Also in 2015, Tomorrow’s Warriors, with support from PRS Women Make Music, commissioned Yazz to write a suite inspired by courageous and influential women. Polyhymnia was premiered by the Nu Civilisation Orchestra at the WOW! Festival on International Women’s Day in March 2015.
During her year as an LSO Soundhub composer in 2016, Yazz was able to explore writing music for her newly developed quarter-tone flugelhorn. This is a unique instrument, enabling her to get closer to the spiritual nature of the ‘blues notes’ in Arabic music, deeply infusing her sound with that of her heritage. The Planets 2018, a work created especially for a tour of planetariums, is a celebration of the centenary of Holst’s suite and modern astronomy. Commissioned by the Ligeti Quartet, Yazz’s composition Saturn was featured and performed around the UK in October 2018.
Continuing her explorations into space, Yazz was later commissioned by the Open University to write a solo piece inspired by the moon, which was performed at the OU Moon Night in December 2018. Yazz’s second album, La Saboteuse, was released on Naim Records in 2017. The album made a global impact, clocking up 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).
La Saboteuse Remixed, released in August 2018, features collaborations with three of Europe’s eminent electronic DJ’s – Hector Plimmer, DJ Khalab and Blacksea Não Maya. Four of the pieces from the original album have been reimagined, taking her music to a new realm and reaching out to a new audience.
June 2019 saw the coda to La Saboteuse revealed: A Shoal of Souls. Composed as a reaction to Sophie Bass’s striking artwork for La Saboteuse, the piece is dedicated to the thousands of lives lost in recent years by those attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better future. Yazz’s long awaited third album, Polyhymnia, was released in October 2019 on Ropeadope Records.
“This is enchanting, late night music that floats on the liminal space between dreams and reality. And for sheer, unconquered beauty, there are few albums of any genre that reach these heady heights. Ahmed, in diving deep within herself, comes back up for air with a mysterious, wondrous artefact humming in her hands,”… the2010s.net
“Yazz Ahmed’s atmospheres are lush, inventive, enticing and an impressive, progressive distillation of her many influences. In short – spellbinding.”…Adrian Pallant
“Ahmed’s playing seemed flawless and her tone mellifluous.”… Patrick Hadfield, London Jazz News
“Ahmed has a true tone and spins long lines over complex, self-penned structures.”… Mike Hobart, Financial Times
“Yazz’s transformation of this into a unique blend of psychedelic Arabic jazz is intoxicating, compelling and sonically outstanding.” … Theallseeingeye
“Even if you’re not familiar or terribly interested in jazz, Ahmed’s music deserves your attention, and she’ll most likely make you second guess your thoughts on jazz.” … Headphone Nation