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Steven Kirby

Guitarist, composer, educator Steven Kirby has built a reputation for performing exciting, melodic, lyrical and expressive mainstream and contemporary jazz as well as being active as performer in other contemporary styles. He has appeared on over 25 released recordings (including two as a leader “Point Of Balance” and “North Light”—available via iTunes, Amazon and at CDBaby). His newest recording, “Illuminations”, is slated for release in early 2016. He has performed and/or recorded with many of today’s most respected contemporary musicians including Chris Potter, George Garzone, Scott Colley, Bruce Barth, Joe Lovano, Harvie Swartz, Joe Hunt, Steve Hunt, George Schuller, Allan Holdsworth, Matt Malley (of Counting Crows) and others. He has toured in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean, Europe and China. Kirby’s music has been played on over 100 radio stations in the US and internationally including features on NPR’s “Here and Now”, “Jazz with Bob Parlocha” and “Eric in the Evening”. His jazz compositions have won awards in the International Songwriting Competition and the Billboard Song Contest and Downbeat. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and has a Masters degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging from University of Massachusetts (Amherst). He is currently on the music faculty at 4 institutions of higher education: Berklee College of Music, Salem State University, Brandeis University, Wellesley College.

Selected Reviews:

“Kirby plays and writes from inside the music, putting melody and feeling first.” – Bob Blumenthal (Boston Globe)

“ Meticulously played, elegantly produced post-bop jazz….Kirby has a serious command of the guitar” (New England Performer)

“ Kirby has an intense, darkly melodic sound that’s very much his own” (All About Jazz)

“ …beaucoup chops…creative music….beautiful and always well played… personal expression that transcends mere imitation” –Jim Ferguson (Jazz Times— May ’99)

“A very talented musician and composer, lyrically inspired and very adept....a must to listen to!— Steve Charbonneu (WICN Radio)

“Kirby doesn’t just play the notes, he plays the sound ”.—Louis-Victor Mialy (Jazz Hot Magazine)

“Compositional depth and brilliant playing” –David Miles (Worcester Magazine)

“One hopes the country’s late night jazz radio hosts discover (Kirby’s CD “Point of Balance”)….though it’s sole color is not only mid-night blue, ….there is a high, lonesome sound attending much of these proceedings....Kirby’s solos unfold with a naturalness unusual on any instrument, but especially guitar.” –James Issacs (Downbeat & MSN Sidewalk Boston)


Album Review

Steven Kirby: Illuminations

Read "Illuminations" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Illuminations--guitarist Steven Kirby's third album, following Point Of Balance (Challenge Records, 1998) and North Lights (Challenge Records, 2003)--is both true to previous form and highly expansive. Kirby uses elements of the sonic palette(s) that helped to color his earlier work, referencing the probing lyricism of John Abercrombie and the straight-to-the-heart melodic qualities shot through in classic recordings from Pat Metheny with Lyle Mays, but he doesn't simply extend on what's come before. In the thirteen years since Kirby's last album, ...

Album Review

Steven Kirby: North Light

Read "North Light" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Boston-based, Berklee-bred guitarist Steven Kirby decided to branch out on North Light, the follow-up to his '98 offering, Point of Balance. The earlier CD was a solidly cohesive affair; but on his second outing, he mixes things up a bit, using four different recording units to complete the CD.This approach can be a potential minefield. The utilization of different bands can create a loss of cohesiveness--an all important component of any music CD. Guitarist Kirby solves this probem ...

Album Review

Steven Kirby Quartet: Point of Balance

Read "Point of Balance" reviewed by Joel Roberts

When you listen to a lot of recordings by younger jazz musicians, you're not surprised to hear great chops. The music schools and conservatories are steadily turning out highly polished, technically accomplished performers who can mimic the full gamut of jazz styles. What you seldom hear, though, is an original voice. That's why the new album by the Steven Kirby Quartet is such a treat.

Although Pat Metheny is obviously the major influence on Kirby, the Boston-based guitarist (not really ...

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Point of Balance




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