Autism Do Not Deter a Young Artist

Matt Savage celebrates life and youth/Photo Miguel A. Alvarez.

Matt Savage’s highly anticipated tenth album, A Bigger Celebration, is scheduled for release in Summer 2013.  This is Matt’s third album to be produced by Grammy-nominated Jonathan Wyner and engineered by ten-time Grammy-winner Tom Bates.

The music celebrates life and youth and embracing experiences with open arms.  It captures the joy of being alive through upbeat, multicultural, surprising and diverse compositions.  Happiness takes different forms… driving a fast car, skiing, dancing at a party, exploring jungles, traveling to distant continents, even lazing on a beach.  From the country to the city to concerts around the world, Matt continues his journey as an extraordinarily talented jazz composer, arranger, performer and pianist.

An impressive lineup of musicians joins Matt on the recording.  Tenor saxophone great Jerry Bergonzi, a top player on the Boston scene, brings Matt’s melodies to life.  Joining the two are Bruce Gertz on bass and Richie Barshay on drums.  Richie has played with Herbie Hancock, among others.  Boston’s Mark Zaleski (alto/soprano saxophone) appears as a special guest.

The artist with Peggy Espejo/Photo Miguel A. Alvarez.

Matt’s previous album, Welcome Home (2010), received critical acclaim, with All About Jazz saying “…this is Matt’s previous album, Welcome Home (2010), received critical acclaim, with All About Jazz saying “…this is Savage’s album all the way, as he not only plays with a maturity well beyond his years but wrote and arranged every number…”  CADENCE Magazine praised “…hints of Aaron Copland and Pat Metheny done in a piano trio setting that shows how hard-swinging a player Savage is.”

Welcome Home was a quintet collaboration with Bobby Watson on sax, Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, Joris Teepe on bass and Peter Retzlaff on drums; it also contained various trio configurations with John Funkhouser on bass and Yoron Israel on drums.  The album reached #18 on the JazzWeek radio charts, #9 on Roots Music Report and #3 on CMJ.

Now age 20, Matt has been connected with some of the biggest names in jazz from the time he was first labeled a “jazz prodigy” at age 8.  He has performed (on stage and in jam sessions) with the Ellington All Stars, Chaka Khan, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, The Bad Plus, Arturo O’Farrill ,John Pizzarelli, Clark Terry, Chick Corea, Terri Lyne Carrington and Erena Terakubo just to name a few.

At the age of 11, Matt debuted at the famed Blue Note (and was signed as an artist for Bosendorfer pianos).  The following year, he debuted at Birdland with the legendary Clark Terry on trumpet, Jimmy Heath on sax, Jon Faddis on trumpet, Marcus McLaurine on bass and Kenny Washington on drums.  In 2007, Matt made his first appearance at the prestigious Dizzy’s ClubCoca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

A recent graduate of Berklee College of Music, Matt made Boston his “home away from home” for three years, performing at such venues as the renowned Regattabar.  Balancing classes, studies and concert gigs, Matt maintained a GPA of 3.99 and Dean’s List status.

In May of 2012, The Boston Globe heralded Matt’s success with a front page cover story.  The article, entitled “Growing Into His Gift, And Into Life,” described Matt’s navigation described Matt’s navigation through autism, college and career.  Bella English wrote, “He gained early fame as a jazz prodigy beset by autism.  Today, Matthew Savage is ready for anything.”  Watching Savage, she marvels, “His slender fingers fly over the keys, alternately muscular and nuanced.”  His professors and friends lavish him with praise… as one of the genius guys, a quick study, that his talent draws respect.  He’s “in the zone” whenever he plays.

On a prior Boston Globe article (February, 2010), Joseph Kahn described, “ Later, on the soundstage at Berklee’s Cafe 939 on Boylston Street, Savage demonstrates the power and fluidity of his maturing playing style as he launches into ‘Picturesque,’ one of his original compositions.  Studious-looking but never stiff, he plays the piece in a lilting, expressive manner that lends its softer edges a big, impressive sound.  After finishing, Savage says what he loves most about jazz is its spontaneity, a quality embedded in every note he’s just played.”

Matt’s media appearances include “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” Marian McPartland’s prestigious “Piano Jazz” series on NPR and “The Late Show with David Letterman.” Following his performance on “Letterman,” the Matt Savage Trio’s album, Hot Ticket, hit #11 on the JazzWeek radio charts and garnered the #2 position in “Live Jazz” sales on (behind only Keith Jarrett).

JAZZIZ, Jazz Times, All About Jazz and other respected music publications have consistently praised Matt’s talent.  JAZZIZ touts Matt as a “wildly inventive composer, interpreter and pianist no matter what his age.”  NPR’s “Piano Jazz” concurs, with Marian McPartland describing Matt as a “young man [who] plays with grace, energy and originality.

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