by Keith Loria
om Saputo has been tickling the ivories in Northern Virginia for almost four decades. Growing up in a Mount Vernon home with a piano in his living room, he learned how to read music early on and in no time at all was dazzling his family and teachers. “I started playing when I was five,” he says. “My older brother was taking piano and I followed his lead, copying what he was doing.” Although he tried taking music lessons, he found that he wasn’t the best student and decided to teach himself to play. "The trick," he admits, "is that you have to be determined and practice a lot." “I had a really good ear and I was able to pick it up really fast,” Saputo says. “When I was eight, I took up the guitar and soon after the drums and bass. I even played some trumpet and saxophone in high school.” In 1972, while a senior in high school, Saputo booked his first professional job at a Jolly Ox and parlayed that gig into a five-night a week career playing local restaurants and clubs. He estimates that he has played over 1,000 different restaurants, clubs, and parties in the area. “There was so much opportunity back then for a musician,” he says. “Still is. I’ve been able to sustain it for 40 years this August.” These days, Saputo can be found all over Northern Virginia playing each of these instruments in a live setting. On Wednesdays and Fridays, you can find him at the Serbian Crown in Great Falls; Mondays and Thursdays he’s at Pistones in Falls Church; weekends he can be playing a private party, backing up an area musician or appearing at the Elks Lodge in Fairfax. “I enjoy the interaction with the people and you get to know so many great people doing this,” Saputo explains. “A lot of the people who come see me, come sing with me, and there are extremely talented people who, for some reason, did not go into the music business, but they are so gifted.”
Lifestyle magazine for the Tysons Corner are in Northern Virginia.