FOLLOWING HER signing to Naim Records earlier this year the trumpeter/flugelhorn player Yazz Ahmed’s first album for the label, the Rhodes and vibes-flavoured Arabic electrojazz modal La Saboteuse is set for a May release. As a composer her work ‘Polyhymnia’ has already been commissioned by Tomorrow’s Warriors and premiered by the all-female Nu Civilisation Orchestra performed at the Women of the World Festival inspired by such icons as the first Saudi female film director Haifaa al-Mansour; Ruby Bridges, the first African-American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in the southern USA; and Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai, shot by the Taliban just for going to school.
Ahmed, a British-Bahrani who beyond jazz sessions appeared on Radiohead’s 2011 album The King of Limbs (she's on tracks that including ‘Bloom,’ see her on flugel in the Radiohead video for the track, top) on La Saboteuse is joined by vibist Lewis Wright of Empirical, Sons of Kemet’s Shabaka Hutchings on bass clarinet and Naadia Sherriff on Fender Rhodes.
Ahmed is quoted on her Bandcamp page describing the project: “I love the sounds of Arabic music. The traditional folk singing is so heartfelt, elemental and passionate. I absorbed it as a child, but only in the past few years has it come to the surface in my playing and writing. I want to embrace my culture and my British jazz heritage, the music my grandfather played to me.” Listen to album excerpts, above