‘Firebird V11’ is an explosion of musical inventiveness, created by Phil Manzanera, one of the UK’s great musicians and guitarists, in collaboration with ex-Quiet Sun and This Heat’s avant garde drummer Charles Hayward, top Polish classical/jazz pianist Lezek Mozdzer and renowned bassist Yaron Stavi from Gilad Atzmon’s Orient House Ensemble and released on 10 November 2008 on his label Expression Records. This ambitious musical endeavour is inspired by the red and white Gibson Firebird V11 guitar, his signature guitar and one that Manzanera has had a 35 year musical partnership with.
The Firebird V11 album has its origins in a chance meeting at Gatwick Airport. Manzanera explains:
“I was standing in the security queue and the man in front of me turned round and said “hello Phil”, it was Charles Hayward, school friend, drummer on our 1975 Quiet Sun album..who I hadn’t seen for 20 years. We agreed that it would be great to work together on another music project. Around this time Gibson Guitars called me about a signature guitar ‘inspired by Phil Manzanera’ and of course it had to be my Firebird V11: I bought it in 1973 and it featured on Roxy Music’s second album cover, ‘For Your Pleasure.’
With Charles Hayward on drums, bassist Yaron Stavi was recruited to the project, with the final place in the quartet taken by Leszek Mozdzer, the celebrated Polish pianist. In addition to his own composition, Manzanera asked that the three musicians each contribute a piece of music, as was ex-Quiet Sun alumni Bill MacCormick, with one track, ‘Mexican Hat’ improvised in the studio. The seven track album was recorded in one week at Manzanera’s Gallery Studios in June 2007.
Firebird V11 continues in the tradition of Quiet Sun and the instrumental side of the 801 Live project. MacCormick and Haywards’ tracks were in fact written in 1970 for Quiet Sun’s ‘Mainstream’ album, but until now, were never recorded. The tracks are:
1. Fortunately I Had One with me W MacCormick
2. Cartagena Manzanera
3. FIREeBIRed Mozdzer
4. Mexican Hat Manzanera/Hayward/Mozdzer/Stavi
5. Firebird V11 Manzanera
6. A Few Minutes Stavi
7. After Magritte Hayward
Firebird V11 Site
FIREBIRD V11 EXPCD29