Jazz pianist Matt Savage recently released his latest album. His 10th. Yes, that's album number 10 for this supremely talented musician. We talked about it when we recently visited him at a rehearsal ahead of his quartet's album release show at Regattabar later this week.
Matt was diagnosed with autism at age 3. He had many of the classic symptoms — hyperactivity, and engaging in repetitive motion — and as a preschooler, one thing in particular was especially hard for Matt: the sound of music. But years of intensive auditory therapy worked. By his 6th birthday, Matt Savage had fallen in love with music. At the age of 7, Matt cut his first album, and he formed his first band the very next year.
Matt is, in every sense of the term, a music savant. He's composed hundreds of songs, he earned his GED by the time he turned 15, he entered Berklee College of Music at 17, and played with music greats, such as Chick Korea and Wynton Marsalis, at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center before he could grow into the soft tween stubble on his chin.
While Matt has excelled, it hasn't always been easy. He's had to work through the profound social challenges of his autism. When he first started at Berklee, he'd often get overwhelmed when other students simply wanted to stop and say hello. Or, he'd get easily distracted by the loudest and brightest things in a room. But today, Matt Savage seems at ease with his autism. Watching him rehearse, it's clear that he is all about the music, and the intricacies and experimentation he's written into his new album.
Matt's latest album, A Bigger Celebration, is just that — a celebration of his life and career thus far.
Matt Savage and his band will be performing at a CD release party for "A Bigger Celebration" on Wednesday night at Regattabar in Cambridge.
Matt Savage, jazz pianist.
This segment aired on October 14, 2013.