2018 Xerox Rochester Intl. Jazz Festival: Matt Savage

Matt Savage was dubbed a musical genius by Dave Brubek at the age of eight. Since then, he has been reaching for the stars. (Photo: Matt Savage for WHAM)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - One artist at the 2018 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival you will want to know has at a professional jazz music career for 15 years.

Matt Savage is just 24 years old.

Savage's extraordinary gift has caught the eye of jazz legends around the world. He was dubbed a musical genius by Dave Brubek at the age of eight. Since then, he has been reaching for the stars.

"I think the moment I knew my passion for music would really take off was when I first started playing my first jazz gigs as a kid, knowing I could improvise," Savage said.

Savage started playing piano at the age of six. After only a few years, he started to play professional gigs. Around that time, he was deemed an autistic savant - something he did not fully comprehend at the time.

"Autistic savant is someone who is on the autism spectrum who has pronounced abilities in one field so it might be music, it might be writing or it might be math," Savage said.

But that attribute alone does not define who Savage is. To him, he is simply a pianist - exploring new techniques and putting his career first.

"In terms of improvisation, often times it’s about letting go ang being able to be artistically flexible," Savage said.

Savage has recorded 12 albums and played with some of the biggest names in modern jazz, including Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis and Chaka Khan.

"Chaka Khan, that was a real inspiration," Savage said. "She knows how to sing the standards. She can belt them out."

It's not too bad for a kid who followed his dream. Now he is inspiring other people to follow their own.

"It’s a huge commitment, but it becomes a passion, almost an addiction," Savage said. "It’s something that will become a part of you in a good way. Something that will always encourage you to follow your dream in life."

Savage now balances his professional career and teaching. He has two shows at the Hatch Recital Hall at the Eastman School of Music on June 22.

To find more information about Savage, you can click here.

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