Matt Savage Groove Experiment – “Escalator Music”

Hello friends. This is my (almost) new funk band… the Matt Savage Groove Experiment!

We do lots of covers, but we also do new tunes of mine that are separate from my solo and trio compositions. This is a new original called “Escalator Music” – named because it’s meant to escalate the spirits, but also because the tempo is the opposite of elevator music.

This piece was recorded during our 15th show, at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 3), on February 20, 2017.

Matt Savage- “Got to Get You Into My Life” (Live in Boston)

I am excited to finally share with you a video from my fall 2016 Matt Savage: Piano Voyages CD release tour!

This tune is the Beatles classic “Got to Get You Into My Life”; it’s the opening track on Piano Voyages and the first rock cover I’ve put on CD. The concert was at the Regattabar in Cambridge, MA on October 19, 2016… it was the first show on the tour.

On the album, I play solo piano and keyboards; Erena Terakubo is a special guest alto saxophonist on one song.

Blog- December 2016

I can’t believe that it’s almost the end of 2016… time flies after a long tour. Next year is 2017 and I will turn 25 years old in May!

Since I haven’t been home too much in the last month, it feels good to spend some time back at my apartment in Boston.

On Monday, December 5, I had one of the most exciting performances of my life in New York City’s Times Square. This was the second annual “John Henry’s Friends” concert to benefit the Keswell School, which is in downtown Manhattan and is specifically for children on the autism spectrum. Because I taught at the Keswell School when I was living in New York (during graduate school at Manhattan School of Music), I was honored to be invited to this special event.

Steve Earle, Graham Nash (from Crosby, Stills and Nash) and Shawn Colvin headlined the concert; I opened the show by playing a 15-minute set, consisting of three tunes from my new album Matt Savage: Piano Voyages. The keyboard was hooked up to an impressive PA system, so I wasn’t really prepared for the different acoustics this time…

It was truly an honor to be in the company of such folk music legends and masters of melody. And it had been a long time since I’d spent a significant amount of time in Midtown… but it also felt good to be playing tourist again, as I felt like I’d been seeing the sights for the first time!

This is all coming right after the completion of my November solo piano tour, which had three legs: a West Coast tour (3 shows), an East Coast tour (3 shows), and a New England portion (with concerts in Worcester, MA and Old Lyme, CT).

The November tour started in Seattle, which I was visiting for the first time. The Pike Place Market (home of the original Starbucks) is definitely worth a visit, but the most gratifying part of Seattle has to be the view from the many large hills of that beautiful forest city.

Then there was a house show in the wine country of northern California (Sebastopol, CA), and a show at Santa Monica College (The Edye at the Broad Stage) near Los Angeles. On the East Coast, I returned to Virginia for performances in Charlottesville and Lynchburg, and then went on to play at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue on the Upper West Side of New York City.

I’m going to conclude this year on a quiet note by visiting family and friends… but I have some big things planned for the spring, so I’ll let you know about those as soon as I can.

Happy Holidays to all and I hope to see you soon.

Matt

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Blog- October 2016

Today’s the big day; are you ready?

My twelfth album is being released today.  It’s called Matt Savage: Piano Voyages and it’s solo piano.  And I’m about to follow it up with my longest tour ever, on both coasts.  Everything is so exciting…

Piano Voyages is my most introspective and personal album, with eight new original compositions balanced with tributes to Herbie Hancock, Wes Montgomery and the Beatles.  There are many tunes about both Boston and New York, plus some electric keyboard interludes (including a “virtual blues”). Saxophonist Erena Terakubo is a special guest on one song.

My official CD Release Concert is at the Regattabar in Cambridge, MA this Wednesday (October 19th).  In anticipation, I’ve been appearing on radio stations in the area, including WUNR Radio International (Boston) and WICN (Worcester).

After that, I have a short break before I head on tour from November 3rd through 13th – which will be almost nonstop – as well as the 25th.  I’ll be on both coasts and I’m looking forward to visiting Seattle (WA), Lynchburg (VA) and Old Lyme (CT) for the first time.

There will also be two big “return to NYC” performances: one solo concert at the spacious and beautiful Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, and one performance at Midtown’s historic Town Hall theater (where I will open for Steve Earle, Graham Nash and Shawn Colvin).  It’s truly an honor to be in the company of such pop music legends.

After this fall, both the weather and the tour schedule might cool down a little…

It’s so much fun to be back on the road again – as Willie Nelson would say.
Matt

Matt Savage: Piano Voyages to be Released on October 14th

MATT SAVAGE: PIANO VOYAGES TO BE RELEASED ON OCTOBER 14TH

Matt Savage: Piano Voyages is Matt’s 12th album.  To celebrate its release there will be a tour kicking off on  October 19 at the Regattabar in Cambridge, Massachusetts – one of the Boston area’s finest jazz clubs.  Matt will welcome alto saxophonist, Erena Terakubo as special guest for this date.

Matt’s newest recording project, produced by Grammy-nominee Jonathan Wyner, is a solo piano album featuring eleven tracks.  There are eight new, original compositions including the Keith Jarrett-inspired “Green,” the optimistic Boston-to-New York funk tune, “Southie to Soho” and Matt’s nostalgic ode to his hometown, “Lullaby for Boston.”  For the first time since 2008, Matt has also included a few cover songs including an intense version of Herbie Hancock’s jazz standard, “Maiden Voyage,” and Wes Montgomery’s classic, “Road Song.”

Through natural and seasonal imagery, surprising tempo changes and occasional electronic interludes, the theme of rebirth is developed.   Matt describes Piano Voyages as a reflection on maturity.  “Collectively, each of these songs evokes a new chapter of life,” says Matt.  “And it’s a solo album because many of these journeys are individual experiences.”

Piano Voyages is Matt’s first new studio album in three years, following his acclaimed A Bigger Celebration, released in 2013.   A Live Celebration:  Kobe, Japan was the 2014 companion album to A Bigger Celebration, and it was recorded during Matt’s first tour of Japan.  Also in 2014, Matt scored, arranged and recorded the music for the full-length documentary film, Sound of RedemptionThe Frank Morgan Story, chronicling the late alto saxophonist Frank Morgan’s troubled life and eventual redemption.

October 19         Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
November 3       Earshot Jazz Festival, The Royal Room, Seattle, WA, with Dawn Clement & Matt Taylor
November 9       Virginia Episcopal School, Lynchburg, VA
November 11     University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
November 19     Curacao (details and venue, TBA)
November 25    The Side Door (Old Lyme Inn), Old Lyme, CT, with special guest, Mark Zaleski (alto/soprano sax)

More tour dates and special guests to be announced.

In addition, Matt will join Steve Earle, Graham Nash and Shawn Colvin on December 5th in New York City for the 2nd Annual John Henry’s Friends Concert at Town Hall, benefiting the Keswell School, an educational program for children and young adults with Autism.

Blog- July 2016

Things have been quite different this summer.  Even thought I’m still living in Boston, I’ve started with a new schedule of private students and am continuing to work on my new solo album Matt Savage: Piano Voyages.

The Matt Savage Groove Experiment recently played in Cambridge, MA again (at an underground music venue called the “Lower Level”).  It was the band’s eleventh show.  But I’m going to switch gears again this fall for the Piano Voyages CD release tour.  I’ll start the tour with a performance at Cambridge’s world-renowned jazz club, the Regattabar; this hometown show will also feature alto saxophonist Erena Terakubo.

In addition, I have to prepare for a short tour of the Rocky Mountains this weekend – first Albuquerque and then Denver.  The Albuquerque performance will be my very first time in New Mexico.  I’m excited to see this side of the Rocky Mountains, although I should get ready for potential 100-degree heat…

When I’m in Albuquerque on Saturday, I will be attending a 1 PM screening of Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story, before my 7 PM trio performance that night.  I will be doing a Q&A/discussion about my score for this jazz documentary, as well as my recent musical projects.  Click here for more information.

But this actually will not be my first trip out west this summer; I was in Canada’s Yukon this June.  You can read more about that trip here.

It feels really great to be able to escape the city for a bit.

Enjoy the weather and stay cool, my friends…

Matt

Yukon 2016

Yukon Mountains

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On June 8, 2016, I played in Canada’s Yukon for the first time. And it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that this trip changed my life. The Yukon is a truly untouched forest territory- with an exciting little city in the middle.

Things started on Sunday the 5th, when I flew from Boston to Montreal to Ottawa; I stayed overnight in Ottawa so that I could catch my morning flight to Whitehorse, Yukon. It was an exhausting flight itinerary and I almost missed one of the flights… I had a two-hour layover in Montreal that quickly became one hour when my flight from Boston was delayed. But I miraculously managed to go through customs and security and catch my connection, in time to meet my first roommate from college, who lives in Ottawa. We got some great Vietnamese food downtown and saw a statue of the late Canadian pianist Oscar Peterson.

The next day, I took the Yukon’s own airline Air North to Whitehorse; the plane stopped in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Canada’s northern portion is divided into three territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut), each with a significant portion of the population in the respective capital cities. The rest is wilderness!

Whitehorse is a small capital city of about 27,000 people, located on the Alaska Highway. Despite the fact that it is south of the Arctic Circle, there is still a “midnight sun” effect, with strong twilight even during the few hours of summer night. The temperature often goes above 70 and below 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer, so one must prepare to wear different layers. There is not too much precipitation as the Yukon is in the West; however, the snow definitely piles up in the winter.

The infrastructure is quite strong in Whitehorse; the roads are smooth because people drive long distances, and Whitehorse has some of the only grocery stores for dozens if not hundreds of miles. Many people who visit Whitehorse have driven from locations as far away as Ontario and Texas. The Yukon’s capital is an artisans’ town; there are plenty of small music halls, gourmet restaurants, artists’ studios and more. I learned that very quickly from the first meal…

But this trip wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing contributions by everyone in Whitehorse- Hailey Hechtman from the disability support organization Teegatha’Oh Zheh, Leslie Peters from Autism Yukon, and Steve Gedrose from Jazz Yukon.

There was also an exciting interview with Dave White from CBC Yukon radio, who is an avid listener of all genres of music including jazz, and who has lived in the Yukon since 1989.

Other highlights of the trip included a vaudeville revue called the Frantic Follies (check out the Can-Can and the rather silly version of Pachelbel’s Canon), a trip to Carcross (short for Caribou Crossing; the town has fewer than 500 people but it’s home to a great burger joint and the “world’s smallest desert”), a ride on Whitehorse’s downtown trolley (which only goes about 5 MPH, but offers a great view of the Yukon River), and an intense hike by Miles Canyon (up and down, up and down; don’t lose your balance).

With all the sightseeing, it was hard to get into performance mode again… especially since the show was at Teegatha’Oh Zheh’s Inclusion Expo at the Canada Games Centre, a gigantic indoor athletic facility containing two hockey rinks, a soccer field, and a pool with a full-size water slide.

After the workout, however, I went back to the hotel, got dressed, and did a one-hour speech/performance, followed later in the evening by a 30-minute solo piano jazz set. This was definitely the northernmost show I have ever done.

I wish I had more time to spend up north, but I had to head back the next day.

The Yukon will always be in my heart and I will have to come back someday- whether for a performance or just to see the North. I feel like a Yukoner already even though it also feels good to be back home.

But I’m already preparing for another mountain trip- Albuquerque and Denver in July.

It’s going to be a “cool” summer and I hope to see you soon.

Matt

Blog- May 2016

I am so excited to announce the release of a new solo piano album on October 14.  It’s called Matt Savage: Piano Voyages.  This new CD will feature both originals and standards, and the musical direction will be much more exploratory than the last couple of albums, but also more lyrical.

The new Matt Savage album is my first solo CD since my first recordings as a small child.  Piano Voyages and It’s My Request (the new Shota Ishikawa and Matt Savage duo record, released January 1, 2016) are also my first recordings in almost a decade to contain jazz standards.

There’s a lot to do to prepare for a new album… mixing, mastering, CD duplication, promotion and touring.  I will start all of this in late May; every album I have done has involved about 5-6 months of work post-recording.

But summer is coming up and I should start getting ready for a few big trips to the mountains.  The first one won’t require any flying; I will be returning to New Hampshire this week for a solo piano show in the beautiful town of Peterborough- a short drive from the farm where I grew up.  It’s going to be wonderful seeing some familiar faces and places again.

Later on, I’ll head to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the first time, as well as Denver, Colorado.  But that won’t even be the biggest mountain journey…

On June 8, I will be playing and speaking at an event in Whitehorse, in Canada’s Yukon territory.  It’s the Inter-Agency Network on Disability’s Inclusion Expo at the Canada Games Centre (a massive indoor athletic complex).  The performance isn’t even at UConn (University of Connecticut)… it’s really in the Yukon.  This will be my second trip to western Canada as well as my northernmost performance ever.

Happy May to all of you.
Matt

Blog- March 2016

It’s been a wild winter in terms of weather. Up here in the Northeast, we’ve experienced temperatures below zero and above 60 degrees. But that’s about to end with the arrival of spring… and a new album.

Over the last few months, I’ve been balancing two very different musical endeavors. One is the Matt Savage Groove Experiment, a new instrumental funk band (sometimes with vocal guests) that I started in Boston back in November. With influences ranging from Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters to Bob Marley to Daft Punk, we take rhythmic hit songs and add intense jazz-fusion improvisation to them. I’ve written a lot of new funk tunes for this band.

On the other hand, I’ve continued to play solo shows, especially at benefit events. And, I have some classical pieces too; I’ll play those in Cambridge, MA on Monday, March 14.

I’ve been exploring the more intimate side of jazz piano with bassist Shota Ishikawa; Shota has a new duo album with me called It’s My Request. That album is predominantly made up of jazz standards.

But my next album (to be released this fall) will feature solo piano material from a diverse range of composers (not just jazz standards) as well as recent original tunes of mine. It will be recorded this month in Brooklyn, New York, over two days. The recording process will be very spontaneous, and the final release will probably sound very different from what I am imagining right now.

After the recording, I’ll have some time to kick back musically, with Groove Experiment gigs in New York City on March 25 and April 17.

There’s a lot to think about as I enter this new and different period of my musical life. But I’ll have some time over the summer to get this album together… while continuing my Boston teaching schedule.

It’s going to be a great tour and I hope to see you very soon.
Matt

Blog- January 2016

It’s so exciting to be starting this new year in my musical and professional life.

First of all, I appear on a new duet album with my bassist friend and fellow Berklee alumnus, Shota Ishikawa.  Released in Japan on New Year’s Day, the album is called It’s My Request: Live at Bar Request.  This CD is my first release as a sideman, my first collection of entirely jazz standards (except for one of Shota’s originals), and my first duo album.  So it’s really exciting to be doing this new kind of project.  It’s My Request was recorded in Kobe, Japan on September 3, 2015.

In addition, the funk band I started in November (Matt Savage Groove Experiment) is continuing its run of shows in the Boston area.

I’ve also reunited my original trio lineup with John Funkhouser and Steve Silverstein; we have recorded five albums together.  We’ll be playing in Methuen, MA this month, with special guest Mark Zaleski on alto and soprano sax.

It’s been a lot of work balancing solo/trio shows and Groove Experiment shows, but I’m hoping to continue both this year as much as I can.  I’ve composed lots of tunes and might even record them soon…

In short, it’s good to be back in the swing of things.
Matt