Viktorija Gečytė [Get-CHEET-Hey], a Lithuanian-born, Paris-based vocalist steeped in the jazz tradition comes to the Mainstay in Rock Hall, Maryland with the New York based Go Trio on Saturday May 28 at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $20. For information and reservations call 410-639-9133. Information is also available at the Mainstay’s website https://www.mainstayrockhall.org.
This performance is in celebration of a new recording, “No Detour Ahead,” with Viktorija Gečytė and Go Trio. The recording captures perfectly the band’s easy, free, and spontaneous vibe, music that is like conversation, sometimes smooth and cozy, sometimes energetic and bright, always flowing, evolving, weaving memories and melodies, interlacing tunes and tales with the adventurous and sharp beat of the bass, the encouraging and energizing drums, the ever-exploring chords of the piano, and a velvet voice.
The conversation started in 2007, at the Cosmic Cup Coffee Co. in Easton, Pennsylvania. The monthly jam session in this inspired coffee joint set the stage for the unlikely encounter of the founding members of the band. Lithuanian-born and raised singer, Viktorija Gečytė, and pianist Sean Gough from New Jersey – both students at Lafayette College at the time – had met in Lafayette’s jazz combo. One day in late September, Gough was hosting the jam when a tall, white-haired gentleman politely approached and whispered, “Can I play a tune?”
“Sure!” replied Gough, “Let’s play ‘Autumn Leaves,’ you know that song?”
The tall gentleman kindly smiled… “I think I do.”
Little did Gough know that he was talking to bassist Gene Perla, who had played with Elvin Jones, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis, among other icons. It took Gough no more than two seconds to realize that Perla’s steady beat had come a long, long way.
Two weeks later, at Phenom, an even more unlikely setting for a jazz scene (a Thai restaurant), Perla heard Viktorija Gečytė sing for the first time, in a moment realized that this was an exceptionally sleek and mighty voice.
For years after that, Perla wondered that an unknown young singer could have such a professional and controlled delivery, pure sustained notes with no apparent effort until one day, as the band was touring in her native Lithuania, her father showed him videos of little Viktorija, age six, singing on national television. By the time they met in 2007, she had been singing and performing for more than 15 years. She was not exactly a débutante, even though she had not given music a first priority in her career.
They started playing together regularly. And they kept on going, even when Gečytė moved back to Europe, to Paris this time, to start a career in executive communications by day, singing in jazz clubs and jam sessions by night. Every year since 2008, they have toured as “Viktorija Gečytė with Go Trio,” and have performed in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, Zurich, and Vilnius.
They have performed for diverse audiences in run-down bars, posh music halls, classic jazz joints, outdoors grassy music festivals – diverse stages, but the audience response is consistent, unequivocal, and enthusiastic. The deepest paradox is that their music has the instant taste of a classic, so familiar, so universal, and yet their conversation is unique. It’s alive, drawing in listeners, engaging them in the dialogue.
Their sound is utterly refreshing, in a world where jazz struggles between inaccessibility and nostalgia. Viktorija Gečytė with Go Trio do not “sound like jazz,” they don’t “play jazz.” They play, they offer what jazz in essence is supposed to be: music happening around you, inviting you, uplifting, love and life breaking free, with “no detour ahead.”
Pianist Sean Gough, is a young man who continues to stretch the boundaries of the American Songbook, jazz standards, and original melodies. He, Perla, and Gečytė will be joined by drummer Nic Cacioppo.
The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. For information and reservations call the Mainstay at 410-639-9133. More information is also available at the Mainstay’s website https://www.mainstayrockhall.org.