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Cecile Savage

Jazz with an Accent

About Me

Welcome to the musical voyage that started in Paris and meanders through Europe, Africa and North America. Cécile plays who she is: a blend of French Cabaret and American Jazz. Born in Martinique, raised in Paris, she studied piano for many years. She moved to New York City where she joined the Living Theater for a while and then decided to devote her life entirely to music. She studied guitar with Ted Dunbar through the JazzMobile program. It is then that she started to play electric bass with blues harmonicist Sugar Blue, with whom she also toured with Memphis Slim, Louisiana Red and Willie Mabon. She decided to move to Chicago where she performed with Blues and Jazz musicians such as Jimmy Dawkins, Von Freeman, Fred Anderson, Franz Jackson, Floyd McDaniel, George Freeman, Oscar Brown Jr., Redd Holt and many more. She performed at the 2008 Chicago Jazz Festival : Tribute to Malachi Favors, bassist of the Chicago Art Ensemble . She also co-led “Komango” with pianist Calvin “Koco” Brunson, adding her mellow voice and her own compositions to a culturally diverse repertoire steeped in the African American, French and Brazilian traditions. She plays a 5 string Alter Ego electric upright bass, made in Rome, Italy as well as 4 string Pollman bass. She combines all musical elements in a style which is truly her own. Her music reflects her many influences: French lyricism, bluesy melodies and passion, and her own jazz compositions with Brazilian overtones. She moved to New Orleans in 2013.

She holds a Bachelors degree in Jazz studies from Roosevelt University in Chicago, a Masters in Education from DePaul University and a Masters in Music Education from Vandercook College of Music in Chicago.

My Jazz Story

Published on: 2016-04-01

I grew up in Paris where I studied piano pretty intensively. The first jazz record I bought (in Prague!) was Money Jungle with Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. I was 15 and wore this record out. I grew up listening to Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, Billie Holiday, Miles and Dizzy as well Nina Simone. I thought my father had lost it when he brought home the Ornette Coleman double quartet album Turn of the Century. But I was blessed to be exposed to so much music including Bach (all the cantatas!) Beethoven ( mainly the cello sonatas), Ravel, Debussy, Stravinsky, Xenakis and so many more. I moved to New York City, the city of Jazz, not knowing what I really wanted or could do. My life has not been not a straight trajectory. Whose really is? I ended up playing the Blues (electric bass, although I had studied guitar with Ted Dunbar through the Jazz Mobile program) and traveling for a few years with harmonicist Sugar Blue until I settled in Chicago and studied my craft, the acoustic bass. Besides I always composed songs and sang. So here I am in New Orleans, making a musical gumbo which seems appropriate for my new city! Jazz the highest form of musical expression as it allies high emotional content (it should), intelligence and understanding of improvisation as on the spot composition and extreme awareness of interaction with other musicians. It ia truly a life long endeavor. Jazz is the life you live.

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