Gecyte ’08 Is Jazz Singer and Media Manager

The Lafayette Bar is filling with the dusky, roomy, easy voice of Viktorija Gecyte ’08. Backed by a supple trio of bass, drums, and piano, she sails through the slipstream of “That Old Black Magic” and other stardust standards. Long before the neon-sign clocks strike midnight, she turns a saloon into a salon.

The Easton gig was a homecoming last summer for Gecyte, who lives in Paris and hails from Vilnius, Lithuania. In the band is keyboardist Sean Gough ’09, who helped Gecyte make Lafayette a hotter hot spot for inspired improvisation.

A mathematics-economics and French graduate, Gecyte’s keen communication skill comes in handy as project/operations manager for EuroBusiness Media, which produces online videos for financial institutions. She manages client accounts, supervises projects, trains interns, edits video, and writes copy. “My academic background enables me to understand my clients, who are usually CEOs, CFOs, or asset managers. The topics of our videos are mostly financial. My understanding of economic and financial terms enables me to edit and spot mistakes. On top of that, we’re all bilingual at EBM, which in France is a big advantage.”

And, her bosses support her second career as a musician; in fact, one of them plays jazz bass. For two years she’s also been guiding Lafayette students studying in Paris.

A self-described “in-between person,” Gecyte is at a career crossroads. She sings in Paris clubs with her boyfriend, jazz pianist Julien Coriatt. One of her role models is Gene Perla, a veteran bassist for the likes of Sarah Vaughan and Sonny Rollins, who plays with far less experienced players simply because he loves to play. She first met him at Cosmic Cup, when he was new to the Lehigh Valley; now he leads Gecyte’s Go Trio.

“I like playing with different people because you can just go anywhere,” says Gecyte. “A good musician always knows what comes next. I’m aiming to be present, from beginning to end, for everybody.”

She sang in the Lafayette Jazz Ensemble and Lafayette Jazz Combo and formed another combo with pianist Gough, bassist Pat Kelley ’09, drummer John O’Keefe ’96, and Jack Furlong ’05, baritone saxophonist and now visiting director of the pep band.

Gecyte helped rechristen the Lafayette Bar as a jazz club. She debuted there with her Lafayette combo in 2006 and inspired the owner to book jazz acts regularly.

Gecyte’s big, smooth, well-lived-in alto makes her sound like a 45-year-old chanteuse. “I find singing very emotional and sensual. It’s almost like flirting, especially when it’s swinging.”

Gough, who teaches jazz piano at Lafayette, says: “There’s also enormous fun and sweetness and vulnerability for those who know her well. It’s always there in the music. Sometimes it makes us cry.”

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