Born in 1996, this young Georgian (Tbilisi not Atlanta) pianist Beka Gochiashvili is a true wunderkind. At age 3, he watched a video of Keith Jarrett’s Standards Trio. That was it. He studied classical piano technique and jazz styles and by the age of 10 he was playing in Tbilisi’s clubs. Now age 17, he differs from some other young pianists in that he isn’t a wooden player who just shows off heavy Rachmaninov chops; he has fluidity, ideas, and knows how to swing the notes.
His first album has come out just over a year ago in September, produced by Chick Corea‘s Return to Forever’s drummer, Lenny White. Beka is joined by an all-star cast: Stanley Clarke, John Pattitucci,Victor Bailey, Wallace Roney, and other jazz luminaries. Condoleezza Rice helped make American jazz fans know about him when she visited Georgia back in 2008. Rice is an accomplished classical pianist and when she heard the teenager play she was completely blown away by his talent.
Here are some video clips, including a Tbilisi TV feature on the young virtuoso done when the former Secretary of State Rice was visiting there.
Here’s another one with him playing the standard, “All The Things You Are”:
Finally, his Grammy audition at the age of 16.
Beka Gochiashvili definitely someone worth watching and he’ll get even better. Don’t worry about pronouncing his last name. Just listen.