Jonny Phillips (guitar); Giorgio Serci (guitar)
Guitar Journey: Giorgio Serci & Jonny Phillips
Two of Europe’s leading acoustic players take you on a musical journey following the development of the guitar from its origins in Spain and North Africa along a path across Europe, Africa and the Americas.
Sardinian-born Giorgio Serci is an award-winning guitarist, composer, and arranger. He has recorded and shared stages with Jools Holland, Shirley Bassey, Julian Lloyd Webber, Dr John, Martin Taylor, Nigel Kennedy, Andy Sheppard, Bill Bruford, Kenny Wheeler and the CBS, BBC Concert and Berlin Philharmonic orchestras.
Jonny Phillips is best known for leading the Latin American-influenced band Oriole, which is one of the most accomplished groups on the UK jazz and world music scenes and has released three critically acclaimed albums. He has also performed with musicians including Arun Ghosh, Polar Bear, Julia Biel, Roland Gift, and Shabaka Hutchings. His compositions blend Brazilian rhythms, flamenco, British folk and jazz.
Together they play melodic, warmly engaging guitar music that includes jazz standards as well as original compositions with Spanish, Brazilian and Sardinian influences.
Jonny Phillips is an award-winning guitarist, composer, arranger and educator. He received the BBC Jazz Award for Innovation as a founder member of the F-ire Collective and the Jerwood Jazz Generation Award for his band Oriole. His natural ability to compose once prompted The Guardian to write, “Jonny Phillips seems to have music coming out of his ears”.
Jonny has performed and recorded with artists including The Mad Professor, Polar Bear, Roland Gift (Fine Young Cannibals), Giorgio Serci and his own critically acclaimed group, Oriole.
Born into a musical family Jonny was encouraged to play violin and piano from the age of five. In his mid-teens he realized his desire to play the guitar, travel and compose. His musical journey so far has taken him throughout Europe, South America, North Africa, Scandinavia, and Cyprus. His broad influences range from Brazilian Samba to Art Rock soaking up elements of African Jazz, Flamenco, British folk and classical music along the way and combining them into a unified contemporary sound.
After setting up his own group Oriole in the mid 90’s with cellist Ben Davis, drummer Seb Rochford, saxophonists Ingrid Laubrock and Teco Cardoso, and pianist Nick Ramm, he was asked to become a founder member of the F–ire Collective. He has since released all of Oriole’s music on F-ire Recorded Music.
Another notable Oriole guest has been singer Julia Biel with whom Jonny co-composed most of her first critically acclaimed album “Not Alone”.
All three of Oriole’s releases (Song for the Sleeping – 2005, Migration – 2006 and Every New Day – 2012) have been featured extensively on British national and regional radio and in the press. The ground-breaking double bill tours that followed the first two albums received funding from the Arts Council, PRSF and the Jerwood Jazz Generation Artist award for collaboration with Sao Paulo based virtuoso saxophonist Teco Cardoso and ex Miles Davis sideman Thomas Clausen. Their music has also been featured on four compilation albums and on BBC, Spanish, Portuguese and Cypriot television.
In addition to Oriole and Guitar Journey, Jonny has toured the UK with Mercury Award nominees Basquiat Strings and tours every summer throughout Portugal with Lisbon based outfit Amber Lights.
At present Jonny is based in London.
Giorgio Serci was born in San Gavino Monreale, Sardinia, an Italian island in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, which has been influenced various cultures (including African, Arabic, Spanish, Roman.) Similarly, Giorgio's musical palette has been influenced and enriched by music from all over the world.
He has performed with and supported an array of international artists including Dame Shirley Bassey, Julian Lloyd-Webber, Nigel Kennedy, bansuri maestro Ronu Majumdar, Vic Juris, Andy Sheppard, Jason Yarde, Japanese armonicist Shima Kobayashi, and koto player Ryuko Mizutani.
Giorgio began teaching himself to play the guitar at the age of 13. Later, he studied classical guitar with Marco Meloni at the Nuova Accademia and jazz in Ravenna, Italy with John Scofield, John Surman and Tony Oxley.
In 1994 he moved to London to study at Goldsmiths College, receiving a Diploma in Jazz and Popular Music (with special commendation) and a Diploma in Music Teaching to Adults. He then went on to study composition and arrangement for jazz orchestra at the City Lit College with Mark Bassey and has since arranged music for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the BBC as well as Russian violinist Anete Gaudine and guitarist Antonio Forcione.
In 1998 Giorgio recorded his first co-lead CD "Lo Scenario" with Simon Davies and began a three-year partnership with Flamenco guitarist Eduardo Niebla, touring world-wide and recording a CD.
In 1999 he founded the six piece band "Big Sunflower" and won the International Jazz Award Sant' Anna Arresi, in Italy.
In 2000 Giorgio and the pianist Bob Stuckey recorded the CD "Loch Ness".
In 2001 he began a three-year partnership with guitarist Antonio Forcione, touring internationally and recording a CD, which includes one of Giorgio's compositions, Watercolour, as well as arrangement of Astor Piazzolla's masterpiece Tango Suite.
In 2002, Giorgio worked with comedian Boothby Graffoe, touring and recording a CD for the BBC with Ross Noble.
In 2003, Giorgio joined saxophonist Denys Baptiste’ Let Freedom Ring orchestra, appearing at the North Sea Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, and Berlin Jazz Festival. He also went to New York to perform and record his own album with Harvie S (aka Swartz), Virginia Mayhew and Allison Miller. This album, New York Sessions is released on the NAIM label.
From 2007 to 2009 he toured and made television appearances with violinist David Garrett, featuring on his DVD Live in Berlin and his CD Encore, and since 2009 he has been touring worldwide and recording with Basia.
In 2010 he teamed up with singer Filomena Campus for a series of international concerts, a CD and collaborations with musicians including Paolo Fresu and Kenny Wheeler.
In addition to this Giorgio has played many solo concerts, including appearances at the Purcell Room and Bolivar Hall as part of the London International Guitar Festival, and has appeared on the Sony Jazz Stage in Riga, Latvia and at the Sage Gateshead for the Global Guitar Night triple bill with guitarist Sylvain Luc and Thomas Leeb.
Outside of performing, he holds a Masters Degree in Composition from Surrey University and since 2001 he has worked at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guilford as a degree lecturer, author and music editor. He has written columns for the Acoustic Magazine and iguitarmag.com and filmed web lessons with Lick Library.
Giorgio endorses Yamaha guitars and Acus amplifiers.