VF Live: Yazz Ahmed

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From lo-fi NYC hip-hop to South African kwaito and beyond…

In VF Live, our favourite artists take you inside their homes, record shops, and studios, for intimate mixes and performances.

Composer, trumpeter, and flugelhornist Yazz Ahemd steps-up for her first VF Live, playing records inspired by her latest EP Polymnia Remixed.

“I’ve chosen to play music from a wide variety of musical styles, tracks that I not only enjoy listening to, but also feel have inspired my own compositions in some way or another. The first piece is dedicated to my mum….”

Check out Ahmed’s playlist – with additional info about what those records mean to her – below.

Tracklist:

1. Kingstonians – Hold Down

This is dedicated to mum who introduced me to many genres of music, including reggae and dub. Big love to her.

2. Okay Temiz – I’m A Green Lamp

I first heard about the music of Turkish drummer, Okay Temiz, via a friend and fantastic musician, Tamar Osborn. I’m a big fan of psychedelic music and love the Turkish and jazz influences here.

3. Jon Hassell/Brian Eno – Chemistry

I discovered Fourth World Vol. 1, Possible Musics when a journalist compared my La Saboteuse release to this album. I was intrigued and bought the LP straight away – I’ve been hooked ever since!

4. Ash Walker – Come With Us

This track is by my good friend and collaborator, Ash Walker. He very kindly leant me the use of his decks for this set (my first ever vinyl set!) and so I wanted to play one of his tunes. He chose Come With Us, which I am featured on.

5. Flying Lotus – Never Catch Me

The great-nephew of jazz musician and composer, Alice Coltrane, FlyLo finds inspiration from his legendry aunt by combining jazz, hip hop and electronic music – genres that I also get a lot of joy from.

6. Aphex Twin – 180db_

My explorations into electronic music are fairly recent, and whilst delving into the various sub-genres, I discovered Aphex Twin. I see his music as contemporary electronic classical music. The great technical skill and imaginative, contrasting sections in each composition always amaze me!

7. Fairuz – Telea El Kamar

One of the most famous Arabic singers in the world, Fairuz is a great inspiration to many people. I love the way she shapes her notes with virtuosic embellishments and expressive emotion.

8. Moonchild – Wise Women

This music is calm, with super laid-back grooves yet played so ‘in the pocket’. I love the horn lines on this album. Such beautiful writing and playing.

9. Weather Report – Havona

One of my favourite bands of all time. The melodies, free improvisations, grooves, virtuosic playing all blow my mind! This track sounds so modern even though it was written in the ‘70s.

10. A Tribe Called Quest – Butter

When I was a teenager, I used to listen to a lot of hip hop and rap, but it wasn’t until later in my life that I started to listen to A Tribe Called Quest. I love the use of jazz snippets featured on this album and chose this track as it samples Weather Report’s Young and Fine.

11. Hermeto Pascoal – Little Cry For Him

I’m obsessed with the music of Hermeto Pascoal. He’s a mad genius and total free spirit. A lot of his music is very playful, and I thought that this track would be a nice little example of this.

12. DJ Khalab – Dense

I’m a big fan of Khalab – I first discovered him when looking for artists to collaborate with for my first remix project. I love his use of field recordings, programming and acoustic instruments.

13. Azimuth ’85 – Adios Iony

A British jazz super trio – Azimuth features my favourite trumpet/flugelhorn player and composer of all time, Kenny Wheeler. This music makes my heart sing.


Yazz Ahmed’s Polyhymnia Remixed is out now.