Matt Savage was born May 12, 1992 Sudbury, Massachusetts, he is the son of Diane and Lawrence “Larry” Savage. . He was diagnosed with autism at age 3. Not one to be pegged with a label even as a toddler, Matt absorbed everything he could from early and intensive therapy. He taught himself how to read piano music at the age of 6 1/2, and immediately thereafter began studies in classical piano. He discovered jazz in 1999 and studied for 3 years at The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. When his family moved out of state, Matt did not have a piano teacher for over a year until he began private studies with his current teacher. Matt has never had any instruction in composition.
Always up for a new challenge, Matt recorded his first CD in December of 1999 in collaboration with his instructor at The New England Conservatory to raise money for autism research. Matt became the youngest child to perform at the NEPTA “Gifted and Talented” classical piano recitals in early 2000.
In September of 2000, Matt met and played piano for Dave Brubeck. The meeting was aired by WGME-TV Channel 13 in Portland, Maine. Brubeck’s comments about the meeting: “I was amazed at how talented he is. Amazing is the word I can tell you. I keep track of young talent in kids, and he’s the first one that I met that young that was THAT talented. He has such a musical mind that it isn’t music that he has to learn. It seems like he’s such an advanced musician in so many ways already at 8.”
On December 21st, 2000, Matt met and played piano for and with Chick Corea (at a sound check). Matt jammed with Avishai Cohen and Jeff Ballard, Chick’s sidemen, during the meeting. Matt was playing with the sidemen when Chick walked in, and when Avishai said, “Hey Matt! Play something for Chick!” Matt proceeded to launch into one of the most well known of Chick’s own tunes…”Steps.” He played it flawlessly and at breakneck speed. Avishai ribbed Chick, saying, “He plays it better than you do.” Fortunately, Chick has a good sense of humor. The two pianists sat at the piano, playing impromptu duets and eventually a kind of “dueling improv,” smiling all the time. Then Chick shared his dinner with Matt while conversing about life and music.
Matt released his second CD (and first solo piano effort) entitled “Live at the Olde Mill” in January of 2001. Matt’s first live radio interview and performance was on May 16th, 2001 on WERS 88.9, a Boston-based radio station.
At the age of 9, Matt indicated he wanted to play in an ensemble. He attended a few open jazz jams on a few Sunday afternoons and hit it off with two adult musicians, John Funkhouser and Steve Silverstein. Matt was scheduled to play a benefit concert to raise money for autism research a few weeks later and asked John and Steve to join him. They agreed, and the chemistry among the musicians at that concert was such that The Matt Savage Trio was born. The band never rehearsed. They just started performing gigs together as a band. The Matt Savage Trio is headed by Matt, on piano, with John Funkhouser on bass and Steve Silverstein on drums.
Matt was featured as “The Artist of the Month” for Orchard music distributors in the spring of 2001, and opened for The Alon Yavnai Group around the same time at The Center for the Arts in Natick, MA.
McCoy Tyner was the next jazz great to invite Matt to his sound check in August of 2001. So, Matt jammed with Avery Sharpe and Al Foster and got words of praise and wisdom from McCoy. After an article came out about Matt in The Boston Globe in October of 2001, Matt started selling out concerts. And in November of 2001, The Matt Savage Trio released their first CD as a trio, a CD entitled “All Jazzed Up”. Around that time, Matt appeared on Lifetime Television and on ABC’s “20/20”. He also did interviews and performances on many, many radio stations across the country. Matt received his first CD review on the “All About Jazz” web site in February of 2002, and was heralded as “phenomenal”.
Matt has received many awards, including being signed in 2003 to Bösendorfer pianos. He is the only child to be so recognized in the company’s 175-year history.
Matt has toured the world, performing for heads of state and others, and appearing on numerous television and radio programs such as Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Today Show, and All Things Considered. In 2006, at age 14, he was featured on a CNN report about the human brain, in which he was defined as a “prodigious savant,” as opposed to the other types of savants. Matt has also appeared in several documentaries about savants.