BEKA GOCHIASHVILI IS A VIRTUOSO GEORGIAN PIANIST WHO MADE THE CHOICE TO LEARN JAZZ MUSIC WHEN HE WAS ONLY 6. THE AMERICAN-BASED MUSICIAN IS NOW 19 YEARS OLD AND SEEMS TO BE WELL ON HIS WAY, DEMONSTRATING VERSATILITY AND THE FULL DEPTH OF HIS MUSICAL TALENTS. HE HAS BEEN LIVING IN AMERICA FOR SIX YEARS AND MANY REMARKABLE THINGS HAVE HAPPENED DURING THIS TIME: GRADUATION FROM THE PRESTIGIOUS JUILLIARD SCHOOL, MEETING JAZZ PIANIST KEITH JARRETT, RELEASING A JOINT ALBUM WITH KEYBOARDIST CHICK COREA AND PLAYING REMARKABLE MUSICAL EVENINGS WITH BASSIST STANLEY CLARK AND DRUMMER LENNY WHITE AT THE BLUE NOTE CLUB IN NEW YORK.
HOW DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR WAY FROM GEORGIA TO AMERICA?
I definitely love my homeland, but I always felt a different pulse beating, an inexplicable gene that gave a flow to my love of jazz. While in the USA, I understood that it is a part of me and my second motherland. I remember my first impressions of Manhattan, when I saw a signboard with the word JAZZ on it and felt such inspiration and energy flow that I realized I was in the right place. This is a country of unlimited freedom which helps you to figure out your aims, perceptions and then to achieve them.
THE HAPPIEST DAY IN YOUR LIFE?
Maybe one of the happiest days in my life was when I appeared at the concert of Keith Jarrett. He is the most important figure for me and I even call him “my musical father”. So, I enter the concert hall, see his trio and feel that I’m in a different world. I don’t remember what he performed that day… I was in Astral!
IF NOT MUSIC…
I can’t imagine what else I’d do… Maybe I’d learn something ambiguous and be an uncertain person, who is still searching and searching… There are lots of keys in life and the aim is to properly open a door and there is no need to rush- there’s always time!
WHAT INSPIRES YOU MOST IN YOUR LIFE?
Music and my girlfriend, Ana. She’s in Amsterdam and when I wake up, the first thing I do is check for her message on my phone. I can hardly imagine life without love and music.
ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC?
Yes I am. I don’t know why, but pessimists believe that they are realists… You shouldn’t lie to yourself and it’s important to praise events realistically, but cope with them optimistically.
WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL DAY?
I’m a night owl and wake up late. Sometimes I might forget about some of my plans and when I’m in Georgia my schedule turns upside-down, but I still try to be into music and play as much as I can.
TELL US ABOUT CHICK COREA. YOU WERE LISTENING TO HIS MUSIC FROM CHILDHOOD, HE WAS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE MUSICIANS… ZOOM AHEAD IN TIME AND THIS PERSON IS TALKING OF YOU AS HIS FRIEND AND YOU ARE RECORDING AN ALBUM TOGETHER.
Yes, we are real friends. I can call him anytime and ask for help or advice. It’s a strange story, how I met him. It was in the Blue Note Club and while listening to his music and from time to time I felt so emotional that I shouted out loud. First he looked a bit surprised, then I shouted again at the musical culmination, so he looked again. I thought he was angry. Then I went backstage and Chick asked me: “You’re that guy who was shouting, aren’t you?” I felt very embarrassed, but he continued, “You know what? You shouted at those moments which I would shout at, too…” That’s how we met, then became friends and released a joint album. It was a true delight to work with him and he gave me lots of freedom while recording the album. Once we had dinner together and he told me that he wanted to go for a while and practice a musical piece composed by me… A real “Cinderella” fairy tale, but this is America, a place where anything can happen.
WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST WHEN YOU ARE NOT IN GEORGIA?
Kakheti and our village Vachnadzeani. It is a place where you can sip wine directly from Qvevri (clay vessel), see grapes being pressed and the wine production process, listen to wise grandparents… Tbilisi is my home city and I’m really very happy when I see how it’s getting more modern with new and trendy cafes and so on. But where can you find places like Kakheti, Kartli or Svaneti? They are true treasures along with Georgian folk music and the songs of Hamlet Gonashvili. These are unique features of Georgia which I miss most.