At Bowdoin the name Ahmad Hassan Muhammad '10 is synonymous with piano prodigy, and tonight, students will have the chance to see Muhammad perform original compositions. Muhammad is an accomplished musician who has performed as a soloist, in the Ahmad Hassan Muhammad Trio (AHM Trio) and with the nine-piece band, The Funky Fresh All-stars, with whom he performed last spring during Ivies weekend.

Tonight, Muhammad and his band members, bassist Oliver Watkinson and drummer Phil McGowan, will come together as the AHM Trio for the second time at Bowdoin. The trio's first performance took place in Studzinski last spring and featuresd original compositions and musical collaborations.

"This is pretty new. Me doing my own music out of that recital hall, I've only done it once before," Muhammad said.

Muhammad describes his music as "jazz that incorporates hip-hop, funk, soul, Latin music and African rhythms."

"The things we've composed are pretty eclectic. It wouldn't be fitting to put it in a genre," he added.

Muhammad has been playing piano for nine years and started Jazz piano his sophomore year of high school.

He met bassist Oliver Watkinson, a current student at the New England Conservatory of Music, through a Bowdoin jazz combo. Watkinson introduced Muhammad to drummer Phil McGowan, a recent graduate of the University of Southern Maine, at a recording session in January of 2008. Tonight's performance will consist mostly of Muhammad's original compositions with collaborations from Watkinson and Mcgowan.

"I'm excited, not only because I'm playing my music and the music of my band members, but I'm also very excited to be playing with my band members," he said. "As a matter of fact, it's not what you're playing but who you're playing with that makes music fun."

Tonight's concert will feature one of the main components of Muhammad's work—improvisation. It is a staple in jazz music that the AHM Trio members use as a method of incorporating their many influences into their work. It is also one of Muhammad's driving passions, which allows him to communicate with his audiences.

"I hope that I can inspire people to take up improv themselves, whether it be music, hip-hop free styling, poetic, comedic, [or] any form of improvisation. It has taught me how to be comfortable with not knowing what lies ahead and [how to] still embrace it and not fear it," Muhammad said.

The repertoire for tonight's concert will be Muhammad's newest compositions from this past summer and from earlier this semester.

"This concert is going to feature a lot of my new compositions. A piece's meaning changes depending on how I feel when I perform. So much of what makes the improvisation is how a musician feels at the moment of its creation," said Muhammad. "[Set lists] are never over-thought. There has to be some room left for spontaneity. There has to be room left for how we, as musicians, feel at the moment."

"A Jazz show can go on and on because there's so much to be said," Muhammad added. "I think of musical occasions as mutual gift-givings. It's a situation in which listeners give me a gift with their attention and I, as a performer, do my best to give them a gift with my music."

The concert will take place in Studzinski Recital Hall tonight from 7:30-9:30 p.m. with a 10 minute intermission. It is open to the public and free of charge.