Blog- August 2015

It feels good to be back in the Boston area again. I’ve been teaching piano and general music classes to students on the autism spectrum at Applied Behavioral Learning Services in Newton, MA.  And I’ve been doing a lot of jamming locally and in New York City, where my score for the jazz documentary film Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story recently had its New York premiere at Lincoln Center.  But it’s time to start preparing for fall tour dates in Japan and the US.

First things first though.  This July, I came out with a new single called “Go On,” which is available on iTunesCD Baby and many other digital music stores.  This is a jazz fusion piece featuring a new quartet from New York- myself on keyboards, Brandon Wright on tenor sax, Tom Berkmann on bass and Richie Barshay on drums.  It represents a new “crossover” sound for my music, and I take both piano and electronic keyboard solos on the recording.

I’ve been going to New York City a lot this summer, not just for performances (I play with alto saxophonist Zac Zinger), but for a major event.  The documentary film Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story had its first New York showing on August 2 at the Sound + Vision Live festival, located at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.  The film is about the troubled life of alto saxophonist Frank Morgan, and I did the score (it was my first full film score).  The film also features a Frank Morgan tribute band that includes Ron Carter, Delfeayo Marsalis, Grace Kelly and others; many of those great musicians were in the audience.

Right now, I’m preparing fall tour dates; I already have many fundraisers lined up and am confirming club dates in New York and elsewhere.  But the biggest event of all is this September… it’s my second Japan tour (the first tour was in 2012).  There are five shows this time (instead of four), and these will include my very first Tokyo show and a special live duo recording with bassist Shota Ishikawa, who is also on my live album A Live Celebration (recorded during the previous tour).

I have new originals and unusual repertoire choices already planned for the big trip.  And I’m looking forward to seeing what new surprises I will find in Japan this time; the food is always delicious and I’ll be taking the bullet train (Shinkansen) for the first time.

The tour is almost sold out; click here for more info.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of this beautiful summer.
Matt

Matt Savage’s Master’s Recital- “Bolero” by Maurice Ravel

Here’s another video from my Master’s degree recital at Manhattan School of Music… it’s a jazz rendition of a 20th-century classical music masterpiece, Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero.”

This was recorded on April 10, 2015 in Manhattan School of Music’s Miller Recital Hall; it was the “grand finale” of the recital and was the only song of the show to feature all seven musicians at once. I hope to play this piece again soon, in this arrangement… although it’s a long one with a lot of instruments!

Click here to listen.

Musicians:
Matt Savage- piano
Adam O’Farrill- trumpet
Patrick Bartley, Jr.- alto sax
Ben Flocks- tenor sax
Mike Bono- guitar
Tom Berkmann- bass
Curtis Nowosad- drums

Graduation and More… (Blog- May 2015)

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Matt Graduation

It’s been such a long journey, but I am now done with my studies at Manhattan School of Music.  I am officially a Master of Music in Jazz Piano as of this May.  It’s an honor to have met and taken classes with so many jazz greats in New York City.  And, I am looking forward to playing and teaching even more this summer.

At the end of May, I’ll play two gigs (a fundraiser and a club date) in San Diego, California with a great bassist and drummer from there… and this summer, I’ll also continue teaching music to children with autism, at Applied Behavioral Learning Services in Newton, MA.

It’s been exciting living in Boston again, and it feels great to be a graduate, but there have been so many more highlights this spring besides my graduation.

In April, I opened for Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Shawn Colvin and others at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood for an Autism Speaks fundraiser called “Light Up the Blues”.  I played my song “We Are Alive” with Crosby, Stills and Nash’s backing band.  It was incredible to share a stage with all of these music legends (and acting legends; Jack Black hosted).  They are all wonderful people.  And I saw the theater and downtown Hollywood for the first time; the Pantages is a beautiful Art Deco theater that actually hosted the Oscars for ten years.

My Master’s degree recital at Manhattan School of Music was on April 10; you can view a video from that recital here.

And the day after my college graduation, I performed in Corning, New York at the Corning Museum of Glass with bassist (and fellow Manhattan School of Music alumnus) Tom Berkmann and drummer Francisco Mela (who performs with McCoy Tyner and Joe Lovano regularly).  This was my first time playing with Mela and I’m looking forward to future performances.

It’s been a very busy spring, but I’m looking forward to spending time with friends and family again this June.  And I hope to see all of you again sometime this summer.

-Matt

Blog- May 2015

Blog- May 2015

It’s been such a long journey, but I am now done with my studies at Manhattan School of Music.  I am officially a Master of Music in Jazz Piano as of this May.  It’s an honor to have met and taken classes with so many jazz greats in New York City.  And, I am looking forward to playing and teaching even more this summer.

At the end of May, I’ll play two gigs (a fundraiser and a club date) in San Diego, California with a great bassist and drummer from there… and this summer, I’ll also continue teaching music to children with autism, at Applied Behavioral Learning Services in Newton, MA.

It’s been exciting living in Boston again, and it feels great to be a graduate, but there have been so many more highlights this spring besides my graduation.

In April, I opened for Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Shawn Colvin and others at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood for an Autism Speaks fundraiser called “Light Up the Blues”.  I played my song “We Are Alive” with Crosby, Stills and Nash’s backing band.  It was incredible to share a stage with all of these music legends (and acting legends; Jack Black hosted).  They are all wonderful people.  And I saw the theater and downtown Hollywood for the first time; the Pantages is a beautiful Art Deco theater that actually hosted the Oscars for ten years.

My Master’s degree recital at Manhattan School of Music was on April 10; you can view a video from that recital here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KpVtdOJgVo

And the day after my college graduation, I performed in Corning, New York at the Corning Museum of Glass with bassist (and fellow Manhattan School of Music alumnus) Tom Berkmann and drummer Francisco Mela (who performs with McCoy Tyner and Joe Lovano regularly).  This was my first time playing with Mela and I’m looking forward to future performances.

It’s been a very busy spring, but I’m looking forward to spending time with friends and family again this June.  And I hope to see all of you again sometime this summer.

-Matt

Matt Savage’s Master’s Recital- “Ask Me Now” by Thelonious Monk

Here’s a solo piano version of a jazz standard by one of my all-time favorite jazz pianists. This is “Ask Me Now” by Thelonious Monk.

This was recorded on April 10, 2015 during my Master’s degree recital at Manhattan School of Music (in Miller Recital Hall).

Click here to listen.

Blog- April 2015

Hello to all. I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend.

This month has been quite monumental for me… not only is this my last full month of graduate school (I will graduate in May), but April will also be the month of three of the most important concerts of my life.

First of all, my graduate recital is on the 10th (a Friday night) at Manhattan School of Music. This recital will include a whole host of new original compositions, plus some unusual tunes that are not your typical jazz standards. None of these tunes have ever been recorded on my albums before. And the musicians are some of my best friends from MSM, Berklee and beyond (Adam O’Farrill, Patrick Bartley Jr., Ben Flocks, Mike Bono, Tom Berkmann and Curtis Nowosad).

Also (backtracking for a bit)… on April 2, I had a last-minute opportunity that was one of the most special moments of my life. I performed at the United Nations’ World Autism Awareness Day reception, after a major scientific/educational panel focusing on the theme of employment as “the autism advantage.” Many ambassadors were in attendance at the panel, as was Ban Soon-Taek (spouse of Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon). The success of the “Light It Up Blue” campaign (where world landmarks are lit up blue for autism awareness) was celebrated. In short, it was an honor and an incredibly touching moment, especially with the realization that autism awareness is increasingly global.

Finally, on the 25th, I will perform at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre for a concert event called “Light Up the Blues” for Autism Speaks. I will play a song with Crosby, Stills and Nash’s backing band (Doug Pettibone, Kevin McCormick, Steve DiStanislao). This concert will also feature Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Shawn Colvin, Steve Earle and more. It’s truly an all-star concert so I’m really excited.

Preparation for the completion of my Master’s degree has been intense, but the reward will come in May. I’ll graduate from Manhattan School of Music on May 15 and will play a gig in Corning, NY the next day.

I’m still not sure about my plans for most this summer, but I’m looking forward to taking a break after school and focusing more on tour dates. The highlight of the summer will be a major event- my second Japan tour in the first week of September.

I haven’t caught up to everything just yet, but things are looking up. And I’m excited for the summer.

Matt

Blog- February 2015

I still can’t believe that I’ll finish my graduate studies at Manhattan School of Music in just three months. It’s been a wildly exciting two years at school and I’m looking forward to playing with everyone even more after college.

And I have something else to announce… on Saturday, April 25, I’ll be playing at a major event for Autism Speaks called “Light Up the Blues.”  This concert will also feature Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Steve Earle, Shawn Colvin and more.  I’ll let you know more details as soon as I find out.  The trailer for the show is at youtube.com/watch?v=eJbJgSmMEDA and tickets go on sale February 27 on Ticketmaster: ticketmaster.com/light-up-the-blues-benefit-los-angeles-california-04-25-2015/event/0B004E4DDCE04FAA

I’ll be doing my Master’s recital at the end of the semester (also in April), but I should also let you know that two earlier gigs of mine have either been “renewed” or rescheduled for March.

My Lilypad (Cambridge, MA) performance will now be on Monday, March 2 at 7 PM. The earlier February date was canceled because of a snowstorm. But this will still be a duo show with Mark Zaleski, opening for Jerry Bergonzi and the Fringe.

And on Friday, March 20 at 7 PM, I’ll be back at Somethin’ Jazz Club with bassist Tom Berkmann and drummer Peter Retzlaff. This is during the last weekend ever at Somethin’ before the club’s temporary closing (due to a change in ownership).

Finally, I have the personnel confirmed for my Master’s recital- trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, alto saxophonist Patrick Bartley Jr., tenor saxophonist Ben Flocks, guitarist Mike Bono, bassist Tom Berkmann and drummer Curtis Nowosad. These musicians are all great players and good friends from Manhattan School of Music (MSM) and New York City in general. The show is Friday, April 10 at 8 PM at MSM’s Miller Hall.

All of my other performances are still going on, including a couple of major fundraiser events around the US (one of which is with a band of excellent jazz musicians in Virginia). I am also working on additional tour dates in California.

In short, it’s going to be an exciting spring.
Matt

Blog- January 2015

First of all, I just want to say Happy New Year to everyone.  I hope all of you had a great holiday season and I’m looking forward to seeing you this year.

It’s winter break now at Manhattan School of Music, so I’m spending time with family.  But I’ll be back in New York City on Friday, January 16 for a trio performance at Somethin’ Jazz Club with bassist Tom Berkmann and drummer Peter Retzlaff.

Also, the first weekend in February, I’ll be doing two shows in the Greater Boston area.

First up will be a Dedham community television taping at the retirement community Newbridge on the Charles in Dedham.  This will be Sunday afternoon, February 1 with saxophonist Mark Zaleski, bassist Bruce Gertz and drummer Patrick Simard.

The next day (Monday, February 2), I’ll head to the Lilypad in Cambridge’s Inman Square for a duo show with Mark Zaleski at 7 PM.  We’ll be opening for Jerry Bergonzi’s group and George Garzone’s The Fringe, two long-running groups composed of some of Boston’s greatest jazz musicians.

In other news, I’m just about to finish my master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music.  This upcoming spring is my last semester, but it won’t be without a big finish.  My master’s recital will be on Friday, April 10, with many of my MSM friends.  I’ll let you know more details soon… And I’ll also be playing in some other MSM shows as well.

This is all in addition to fundraisers in Rochester (NY), Virginia and San Diego, in March and May.

I still feel like I just started my master’s degree, so I can’t believe that I’m almost done.  However, with graduation comes great opportunity, and I’m looking forward to the excitement of the new year.
Matt

Blog- November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season.

It’s been a long time since the last blog, but that’s because lots of cool things have happened recently.

This Sunday afternoon, I’ll be performing in Baltimore at An Die Musik Live. I will play my 24 Preludes for Piano (one in each major and minor key), followed by a short jazz set filled with surprise tunes. It’s going to be a big solo piano show that bridges two different genres.

Then I’ll go back to Manhattan School of Music for a couple of performances, including one with the improvisational collective called the Nu Art Ensemble on Monday.

There are also lots of final exams coming up, mostly composition projects. In fact, I’m just finishing a piece for combined big band and symphony orchestra.

And in February, I’ll return to Boston for a performance at the Lilypad in Cambridge. I’ll let you know more details about the show soon

Things have been very exciting here in New York, but I’m looking forward to seeing family over the holidays.

Hope to see you soon,

Matt

Arizona 2014 (Rainbow Acres)

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Sedona Red Rocks

Rainbow Acres

This October (10/25/14), I performed for the 40th Anniversary Gala of Rainbow Acres, a residential community for adults with developmental disabilities in Camp Verde, Arizona.

It was a long trip from New York City… a 6-hour flight to Phoenix followed by a 2-hour bus ride to Camp Verde.  But it was worth it.  The location is really beautiful (it’s way out in the desert), and the Rainbow Acres complex is a very comfortable and relaxing place (but with modern and renovated buildings).

I also played a new original tune of mine at the show.

I would like to thank Gary Wagner and everyone else at Rainbow Acres for making the performance such an enjoyable experience.  And I hope to return to the desert soon!