Andrew Milad Trio: A voyage with Egypt's youngest jazz trio

Ati Metwaly , Sunday 16 Jul 2023

The Andrew Milad Trio - pianist Andrew Milad (18), bass guitarist Youssef Hady (16), and David Maged (16) - performed at the Goethe Institut-Kairo on Thursday

Andrew Milad Trio
(Photos: Ati Metwaly)


Their concert marking their debut album Sultan pre-release was part of the Shubbak El Fann programme held at Goethe Institut. 

Founded in 2022 by Milad, who also composes music and works on arrangements, the Trio assembles Egypt's youngest jazz musicians, who have already made a significant impact on the country's music scene despite their tender age.

Milad began studying piano with Marcelle Matta at eight and won Egypt's Chopin International Piano Competition for Youth in 2021. His passion for jazz led him to study with renowned jazz performer Rashad Fahim (Berklee College of Music alumni) at 15 in 2020. He was even offered a partial scholarship to study contemporary music writing and production at Berklee, an opportunity he is still considering.

Milad, Youssef Hady, and David Maged met several years ago during a music competition and immediately developed a musical affinity. "We soon found that our sound together is really good, and ever since we work and perform together," Milad told Ahram Online.

Youssef Hady initially learned percussion at Trinity College London in Egypt before switching to bass guitar and studying theory and harmony with Rashad Fahim.

David Maged, son of drummer Maged Mounir, pursued his own musical explorations from an early age, intrigued by the instrument.

The Trio's youthful synergy culminated in captivating performances at various venues, including the Cairo International Jazz Festival 2022 at Ewart Hall, Tahrir Cultural Centre - American University in Cairo. Their debut album, Sultan, exemplifies their passion and dedication to music.

“Having performed for some time with other musicians, I felt the need to make my own project. I think that for a pianist, joining a bass guitarist and a drummer to the mix, is the best formation,” Milad credits his band members while explaining that his work on the trio is parallel to composing and doing arrangements, Hady and Maged “contributed with many important ideas.”

Milad showcased his compositions, including Mahrajazz, Diversion, 4D, Hi Michel, and Night in Warsaw, which was inspired by his trip to Poland as part of his Chopin competition prize. While listening to Chick Corea during a hot, rainy afternoon, he felt an unusual sensation that led to this composition. "It was an unusual feeling that led to this composition," he recalls.

The trio’s strong academic background and great passion for music were obvious behind each composition, where a modern jazz carpet received other music genres embroidery, from funk and hip hop to oriental accents. Milad steers away from defining his music, choosing to direct our minds towards broad territories of contemporary jazz fusions.

The Trio blends modern jazz with funk, hip hop, and oriental accents, avoiding rigid definitions and opting for the freedom of contemporary jazz fusions, skillfully woven by Milad.

As if challenging the established academic canons, Milad saturates his works with complex harmonies and rhythms while exploring sounds and forms with youthful freedom.

“It is this complexity that drew me to jazz,” the young musician explains. “I especially love rhythms in modern jazz, those that are never used in classical music or other genres. The syncopations [rhythmic or melodic accents that are often displaced] are not present with the same strength either.”

Milad emphasizes that the album Sultan is a process of “discovering, exploring new grounds, taking risks. I think that in music I don't follow the strictly established forms. I often want to do what has not been done. It’s not always possible of course, but I am influenced by bits and pieces from different influences and present them together in my own way.”

Sultan is also a by-product of a musical friendship. “We are friends at the base; human communication is very important. We are still developing and learning throughout the whole process. It is a great trial and error process,” he adds to the dynamics between the three musicians.

As Milad adds, there are a few reasons for the choice of word Sultan. “The word is easy to pronounce and well understood by many nationalities,” Milad clarifies.

Sultan represents a ruler surrounded by those seeking to please him. Milad invites the audience to assume the sovereign's position while listening to the album"I hope that everyone will find in it his piece of joy and satisfaction, similar to the one that the Sultan receives from the external world when aiming to please him.”

The audience's of Goethe Institut showered the Trio with applause and several remarks complementing the music and especially each of the musicians during their respective solos.

Not only was their concert a showcase of Egypt's youngest jazz musicians, but also it gave us all hope that the up-and-coming generation of young creatives is stepping in with a lot of passion, which when combined with excellent academia, has a great potential of elevating significantly the country's jazz scene.

The self-funded album of the Trio, consisting of six tracks, will showcase each musician's talents, with the possibility of a piano solo. It will be released on all streaming platforms by the end of August.

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