The Monadnock Center for History and Culture presents a concert featuring pianist Matt Savage on Sunday, May 22, at 3 p.m. At age 24, Matt has already had a fourteen-year professional career as a jazz musician, bandleader and composer. He’s played with some of the biggest names in jazz since first labeled a “jazz prodigy” at age 8, when he met and played piano for Dave Brubeck, and played with such luminaries as Chick Corea, the Ellington All Stars, Chaka Khan, and Wynton Marsalis. He’s also performed with folk and rock musicians Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, Al Stewart, and Shawn Colvin.
Matt debuted at the famed Blue Note (and was signed as an artist for Bösendorfer pianos) at the age of eleven. The following year, he appeared 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 played his first gig at the prestigious Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and has gone on to play such venues as the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Scullers, the Iridium, the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival, and the Monterey Jazz Festival.
It’s now difficult to imagine, but a mere six years before taking the stage and wowing audiences at Birdland, Matt Savage did not play a musical instrument and could not tolerate sounds in general. At the age of three, he was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a high-functioning type of autism. For the next four years, his parents immersed him in intensive intervention therapies. At age six, Matt completed auditory integration therapy, which drastically reduced his sensitivity to sound. With re-tuned sensory and social perceptions, Matt immersed himself in all things musical. His abilities flourished at a hyper-accelerated pace. Matt taught himself to read music and play piano literally overnight.
Media appearances have included Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz,” NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and the “Today” Show.
Matt composed, arranged and recorded all the original music for a full-length documentary film, Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story. The movie, directed by N.C. Heikin, chronicles the story of alto saxophonist Frank Morgan’s troubled life and eventual redemption. The film was premiered at the 20th Los Angeles Film Festival on June 14, 2014.
The Monadnock Center is pleased to welcome Matt back to the Monadnock region. Admission is $18 / $15 for Monadnock Center members, seniors, and students. Reservations may be made online at MonadnockCenter.org, or by calling 603-924-3235.