Vik & Meant 2B curated by Gene Perla
Friday, May 12, 2023, 7:30 pm
Miller Symphony Hall is excited to present the second of a series of three concerts curated and programmed by our great friend of Jazz Upstairs, Gene Perla.
Viktorija Gečytė | vocals
Gene Perla | bass
J. Taylor Leach | drums
Jesse Green | piano
The low, velvet voice. The seductive sound of jazz. Viktorija and Gene return to the Rodale Room for a one night only concert. It’s swinging, sophisticated, and the perfect welcome to spring.
Meant 2B is a jazz piano trio formed from three generations. At a recent performance, an audience member commented, "I have never heard nor seen a musical group like this where the members interact seamlessly and magically. It’s as if they are reading each other's minds."
Meant 2B is the ideal situation for creating music. Their first time playing together was a joyous experience that has launched delightful explorations. There is no ego involvement, just pure connections presenting music as one. It is an experience of learning, growing, and sharing with the world.
Jesse is gifted with a river of creativity supported by dazzling technique; Gene’s pulsing foundation is a platform the 2B’s transport themselves and Taylor’s batterie continuously coaxes and embellishes the music’s resonance.
An album of original arrangements is forthcoming, and they can be followed at www.Meant2BTrio.com
The stage has long been Viktorija’s home away from home. She premiered in public at age 5 in her native Lithuania and was regularly featured on TV for many years. During high school, she schooled herself in global jazz by hitchhiking to music festivals around Lithuania. Later, thanks to a scholarship from Lafayette College, she explored the New York area jazz clubs and much more of America during her 3,800-mile cross-country bicycle trip. In 2008, she settled down in Paris where she performs regularly at jazz clubs and festivals.
Elegant, swinging and sophisticated beyond her years, Viktorija bears comparison with the greats. She has great phrasing, impeccable timing, a low velvet voice with smoky hues, and hits every note on the button. Her fondness for jazz comes from her father, and her love of singing from her mother, an award-winning chef who comes from a long line of passionate traditional vocalists. For Viktorija, singing is a musical conversation, a human endeavor, a never-ending journey.
Gene Perla was born and raised in New Jersey where he studied classical piano and trombone.Â After attending Berklee School of Music he moved to New York and began his musical career as a jazz bassist. He has performed and/or recorded with Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Elvin Jones, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Chuck Mangione, Joni Mitchell, Buddy Rich, Sonny Rollins, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Stone Alliance, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and others.
In the early 1970's he formed music publishing and record companies, and his group “Stone Alliance” traveled to South America and Europe which gave him experience in management and booking. Other efforts include Broadway sound design (Tony Award for “City of Angels”), recording studio operations, and Webmaster for the Jazz Education Network. He is currently playing his basses, producing records, running an Internet design and hosting company, and teaching music business and other subjects at Lehigh University and The School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School University.
Jesse Green is an American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, producer, and teacher. He is the son of big band singer Kathy Preston and acclaimed jazz trombonist Urbie Green.
His awards include 1st place at the American Pianist Association’s Fourth Biennial Jazz Piano Competition which resulted in being named the first Jazz Fellow of the American Pianist Association. At age 17 Jesse won the National Downbeat Student Award for “best extended composition and arrangement.” He won 1st place in The Great American Jazz Piano Competition and the Martial Solal Jazz Piano Competition held in Paris.
Jesse received a full scholarship from Berklee College of Music. He performed at the United States Day in the United Kingdom’s Millennium Dome as a member of a U.S. delegation presented by the White House Millennium Council. Further accomplishments include placements in the First Biennial Jazz Piano Competition and the Annual International Jazz Piano Competition.
Currently Jesse performs regularly with the Meant 2B (Gene Perla, bass, and J. Taylor Leach, drums) along with other artists.
J. TAYLOR LEACH
Born in Texas and raised in New Jersey J. Taylor Leach's interest in music began at a young age. Self-taught until "official" studies and practicing began at Raritan Valley Community College followed by studies at William Paterson where he obtained a jazz performance degree.
Taylor has an extensive teaching background teaching master classes at New Jersey Youth Symphony, several schools, and privately. His passion for music is ever growing, and he loves to share it with anyone who cares to listen and partake. He leads his own groups and has performed with such luminaries as Christian McBride, Bill Charlap, David Liebman, Vincent Herring, and as a member of Meant 2B.