November 29, 2007

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Locally grown be-bop
Jazz prodigy plays Francestown
By Alec O’Meara aomeara@hippopress.com

Jazz prodigy Matt Savage will get the chance to play his hometown this weekend for the Old Meeting House’s season-capping performance from the Matt Savage Trio.

Savage, 15, has already made a global name for himself with his music. He has played Bird Land, the Blue Note, the Distler Performance Hall at Tufts University, and on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. His music has taken him to the Bahamas and to Singapore. Nothing, however, is quite the same as the chance to play five minutes from home, said Savage’s mother and manager, Diane Savage.

“There’s just something about playing for a hometown crowd with your friends and neighbors there,” Diane Savage said.

Matt Savage began playing the piano at six years old, when he taught himself how to read music and began studying classical pieces. In 2000, Savage was the youngest ever to perform at the NEPTA “Gifted and Talented” recital. He has studied for three years at the New England Conservatory of Music. His current album, Hot Ticket, is his sixth, meaning he’s technically averaged an album a year since he was nine, even though that’s not completely accurate. Savage actually recorded his first album at the age of seven.

Impressed yet? It gets better. Savage was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, and initially had difficulty communicating and did not react favorably to noise of any kind, including music. However, after undergoing four years of therapy, Savage had showed enough progress that his musical abilities began to surface. Today, Savage has no problems performing in front of audiences.

Unlike the clichéd piano boy-genius, however, Savage’s genre of choice is not classical music, but instead the realm of jazz. Perhaps that’s why, among all the prestigious stages he’s shared with musical legends, a visit to the island of Curacao was one of the more influential. Savage’s original composition, named after the island itself and fused with a Latin flavor, is one that often garners attention.

“I just like that there’s lots of room for improvising,” said Matt Savage of his music of choice. “I like the be-bop, and I try to make it young and fun.”

Though he has traveled extensively, Savage shares his mother’s appreciation for playing locally, especially at the Old Meeting House.

“It’s just a refreshing place to play,” he said. “It’s very cool and wide and it has some great acoustics.”

The Old Meeting House of Francestown, Inc., is a nonprofit corporation responsible for the preservation of the Old Meeting House. All proceeds from concerts are used for the continued care of the building.


Matt Savage Trio
When: Saturday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m.
Where: Francestown Old Meeting House, Junction of Routes 136 and 47
Tickets: $20
More Info: www.savagerecords.com.