Phil Manzanera is one of the UK’s best-known musicians and record producers, having shot to prominence in the early ‘70’s as the lead guitarist with the seminal band, Roxy Music. He is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading guitarists and is in much demand both as a performer and record producer.
In the last 12 months alone, Phil Manzanera has co-produced Pink Floyd’s ‘The Endless River’, which was a global hit, achieving No 1 in over 20 countries, he released, ‘The Sound of Blue’, his own autobiographical album, co-produced David Gilmour new album, ‘Rattle That Lock’, which again topped the charts in 12 countries, including the UK, and was Maestro Concertatore of La Notte della Taranta, Italy’s largest free festival. He also took part in ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ a tribute concert to Jack Bruce. Manzanera is touring with David Gilmour, having already played sell-out shows in Europe and the UK: in December the band heads for South America, playing dates in Brazil, Argentina and Chile.
‘The Sound of Blue’, Manzanera’s recent album, is a musical memoir, mainly instrumental with two songs. The album features Andy Mackay his partner from Roxy Music on Sax and VCS 3 as well as ex-Stereophonics drummer Javier Weyler on drums and Yaron Stavi from Gilad Atzmon’s Orient House Ensemble on electric and double bass. Sonia Bernardo is the singer on ‘1960 Caracas’ and Manzanera’s cover of ‘No Church in the Wild’. Phil’s guitar riff from 1978’s K-Scope can be heard on the Grammy winning smash hit ‘No Church in the Wild’ the first track on Jay Z and Kanye West’s multi-million selling album, ‘Watch The Throne’.
Manzanera’s live work is as eclectic as his studio projects: performances include, The Curious Arts Festival with his The Sound of Blue band, a collaboration with Fernando Montano, the Colombian ballet soloist from the Royal Ballet, a performance with the late Jack Bruce at a Festival in Havana, some poetry gigs, four Firebird VII dates at Ronnie Scotts in London and in Poland, as well as a guest appearance with the Mexican Duo Rodrigo and Gabriela, followed by concerts with a Prog Orchestra in Sweden.
Phil Manzanera was born in London to a Colombian mother and English father, and spent most of his childhood in different parts of the Americas: Hawaii, Venezuela, Colombia and Cuba. It was in Cuba that the young Manzanera, aged six, encountered his first guitar, a Spanish guitar owned by his mother. Phil’s early musical accomplishments were Cuban folksongs learnt against the upheaval of the Cuban Revolution.
In Venezuela the eight-year-old Phil started experimenting with the sounds of the electric guitar, a cello electric. During his teenage years Phil was absorbing and marrying the twin influences of 60’s rock and roll with the Latin -American rhythms of the merengue, cumbia and particularly the boleros of the Mexican, Armando Manzanero.
Manzanera was determined to join a professional band and by the New Year of 1972, aged 21, he had joined the recently formed Roxy Music as lead guitarist – the line-up at this time was Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Paul Thompson and Andy Mackay. Roxy’s rise was meteoric, with the band being hailed as the stylistic influence of the early 1970’s. During the next 12 years, until 1983 when the band members went on a ‘long break’, Roxy Music released a series of international best selling albums, achieving ten UK top ten albums and touring extensively throughout the world. In parallel with Roxy Music, Manzanera has alway pursued solo projects, both recording his own albums and producing for others. All his previous solo albums have been digitally remastered and re-released with new artwork, available on his own label, Expression Records through his web-site, www.manzanera.com.
As a writer, producer and solo artist, Phil Manzanera has worked with many of the luminaries of modern music, such as Steve Winwood, David Gilmour, John Cale, Godley and Creme, Nico (Velvet Underground) and John Wetton (King Crimson, Asia). He has co-written material with many artists, including Brian Eno, Tim Finn, Robert Wyatt and David Gilmour. Manzanera co-wrote Pink Floyd’s single ‘One Slip’ from their 1988 ‘Momentary Lapse of Reason’ album.
In 2008 Manzanera co-produced David Gilmour: Live in Gdansk as well as David Gilmour’s 2006 chart topping album, On An Island, he also toured with Gilmour playing concerts in Europe and North America. Also in 2008 his production of Enrique Bunbury’s album Hellville Deluxe, was no1 in Spain and Mexico.
The Roxy Music ‘long break’ came to an end in 2001 with a critically acclaimed, sellout 52-date world tour, featuring Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera, Andy MacKay and Paul Thompson. The world rediscovered Roxy Music and the band were shown to be as relevant and influential as ever. In the summer of 2003 Roxy played 10 dates in the US followed by 13 European gigs in 2004, including performing at Live 8 in Berlin. Summer 2010 saw Roxy Music thrilling fans at Festivals in the UK, Europe and Japan, which was followed by a Winter UK tour, and dates in Australia and New Zealand. At the end of 2014 Manzanera mused that Roxy Music had enjoyed 40 great years and ‘perhaps our job is done.’
Phil Manzanera has his state of the art Gallery Studios in West London. Artists that have recorded there include Robert Wyatt, Roxy Music, Brian Eno, Hot Chip, David Gilmour, Annie Lennox, Paul Weller, Kevin Ayers, and Chrissie Hynde.