Born: January 19, 1954 Primary Instrument: Piano
John Serry (b. 1954) was nominated for a Grammy [Best Instrumental Arrangement] for his composition, Sabotage, on his debut album, Exhibition (Chrysalis, 1979). His second album, Jazziz (Chrysalis, 1980), received 4 stars in Downbeat, feature review of the month in Keyboard magazine and it inspired the naming of JAZZIZ magazine by its publisher. In 1995, John was awarded the Grand Prize in the JAZZIZ magazine Keyboards on Fire pianist/composer competition (Dave Brubeck and Bob James, judges; grand piano from Steinway.) John Serry's CD, Enchantress (Telarc, 1996), was well received: He has a strong sense of melody, his touch is confident, his ideas are sensible and his playing is beautifully controlled —Downbeat What a pleasure to find that he is back, still turning out charts that turn heads by turning corners. —Keyboard. Serry has performed at Birdland, the Blue Note, the Montreux Festival, the 606 Club (London), Covent Garden (featured on BBC “Jazz Legends Live”), Steinway Hall and numerous festivals, clubs and venues in the U.S and abroad. Players which have appeared in his groups and recordings include John Riley, Peter Erskine, Carlos Vega, Anthony Jackson, Jimmy Johnson, Bob Sheppard, Gerry Niewood, Ted Nash, Mike Sembello, and Barry Finnerty, among others. His new album, The Shift (2013, SPCo Records), with his London quartet, Dave O'Higgins - sax, Mark Mondesir - drums, Sam Burgess - bass / Mike Mondesir - elec. bass, is available at CD Baby (http://cdbaby.com/cd/johnserry), iTunes, Amazon.com and the Music Store at www.facebook.com/johnserry1. Free download of the first track, Pockets, at https://www.dropbox.com/s/t1ti19w39a8jkwu/1.%20POCKETS%20mp3.mp3. Listen to album excerpts at www.facebook.com/johnserry1 (Music Store), www.myspace.com/johnserry and http://cdbaby.com/cd/johnserry. Serry returns to the studio in top form on The Shift (SPCo)...The leadoff track,“Pockets,” our selection, showcases the ensemble’s esprit de corps, as they wend their way through the lilting composition. Serry’s playing is as colorful and expressive as ever. —JAZZIZ magazine (Summer 2013 issue). John has lived in Europe since 2004 - London, Spain, Prague, Germany, Italy....
Awards:Grand Prize, JAZZIZ magazine Keyboards on Fire pianist/composer competition (Dave Brubeck, Bob James judges; grand piano from Steinway, 1995.) Grammy Nomination (Best Instrumental Arrangement for his composition, Sabotage) "Exhibition" LP (Chrysalis, 1979.) 4 stars in Downbeat,"Jazziz" LP(Chrysalis, 1980, also feature review of the month in Keyboard magazine and was the inspiration for the naming of JAZZIZ magazine by publisher Michael Fagien.) Best Pianist, Best Composer/Arranger for a Small Group and Best Combo (in Auracle), 1975 Notre Dame Jazz Festival - Jack DeJohnette, Sonny Rollins, et al, judges. Third Prize (tied with Michael Udow), 1985 Percussive Arts Society composition contest, Concerto for Percussion Brass and Percussion. New York State Regents, Eastman School of Music and Long Island Youth Orchestra scholarship recipient.
What a pleasure to find that he is back, still turning out charts that turn heads by turning corners. —Keyboard.
Serry returns to the studio in top form on The Shift (SPCo)...The leadoff track,“Pockets,” our selection, showcases the ensemble’s esprit de corps, as they wend their way through the lilting composition. Serry’s playing is as colorful and expressive as ever. —JAZZIZ magazine.
Serry's fleet fingered runs on songs like the jaunty catchy Dyt It are both technically impressive and subtle. His ballads are equally disarming… Heartfelt is warm and resonant... Listen and prepare to be enchanted.—JazzTimes
The strongest aspect of Serry's style is his interlocking rhythms in shifting time signatures...funky hiccupping lines dodge around one another...the forward motion is so compelling...it's a little like being in orbit. Serry achieves a remarkable amount of coloration. —Keyboard
Serry routinely rips through stylistic changes with energy and finesse to burn...a flair for dexterous melodies...at his best, John Serry can do it all...a triumph —****(4 stars) Downbeat
Jazziz (1980, EMI Chrysalis Records) 4 stars Downbeat magazine
Enchantress (1996, Telarc)
The Shift (2013,SPCo Records)
Additionally: Present Tense "Carnival of Aliens" (2004) guest pianist; Auracle "Glider" (1978, Chrysalis Records) pno, kbds, composer (4 of the tracks); Stravinsky the Composer, Volume 2 (Music Masters, 1994, Robert Craft conductor) John Serry percussion, Les Noces;
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Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
John Serry has presented clinics, courses and lessons in piano, percussion, composing / arranging, improvisation, jazz theory, film scoring, MIDI, and the music business. He has performed, taught and coached ensembles at Juilliard, Peabody, Musicians Institute, NYU, City College (NYC), Queens College, Brooklyn College, SUNY Binghamton, Univ. of Wisconsin, Univ. of S. Carolina (Director of Jazz), Wichita State Univ. (2 residencies), and the Royal Academy of Music (London). He has degrees from the Eastman School of Music (MM and BM with Distinction).
Workshop/seminar/master class - improvisation, composition, harmony, theory; also one-on-one with pianists, composers/arrangers, drummers/percussionists