The life story of fourteen-year-old Matt Savage is surely a television movie in the making. While millions of Americans already know about this young musician because of his exposure in national magazines and media interviews (e.g. People
magazine, The Today Show
, etc.) there are still more people who would be fascinated by Savage's journey.
Diagnosed at age three with a form of autism, Savage underwent intensive training so that by the age of six, he was able to read music and play the piano; he immediately began studying classical music. One year later, entranced by the music of Monk, Miles and Coltrane, he switched to jazz studies and pursued a three-year education at New England Conservatory of Music. His debut album, the first of four self-produced efforts, was released in 1999. Playing with a trio consisting of educators John Funkhouser (bass) and Steve Silverstein (drums), Matt Savage explored a mixture of originals and jazz standards with a complete jazz vocabulary as a pre-teen pianist.
Quantum Leap is the first album by Savage's trio to appear on a major independent jazz label with international distribution. As he has shown on his previous sessions, Savage is not hesitant about performing his own original tunes, along with such jazz staples as Thad Jones' "A Child is Born," the Jerome Kern standard "All The Things You Are," George Shearing's "Lullaby of Birdland" and Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Dream."
What's most impressive here is Savage's varied moods on his own tunes. He can write a wide range of music: stride piano ("Couch Potato Blues"), ballads ("Dreaming of You"), Caribbean-infused music ("Curacao") and up-tempo mainstream tunes ("Free And Easy"). The trio meshes well together, in no small part because it has been performing as a unit for the past seven years. Savage has already performed with Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Jason Moran and Stefon Harris. With exposure to an even greater audience, he could be on the verge of a true quantum leap!
Personnel: Matt Savage: piano; John Funkhouser: bass; Steve Silverstein: drums.