Steve Kirby

"Our program has world-class teachers along with many top-level world guest artists. We have a weekly jam session and we take ensembles out into the community. The goal is to set the bar high and let everybody see what to shoot for. As an end result, the students every year come of out of high school at a higher and higher level. They’re seeing what we’re doing—and some of them can even top us!"

Steve Kirby, Director of Jazz Studies


Before arriving in Winnipeg from New York in 2003, jazz bassist Steve Kirby had established an enviable career performing, recording, and touring with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Elvin Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut, Abbey Lincoln, Steve Turre, James Carter, Slide Hampton, Joe Lovano, Lester Bowie, John Hicks, and many others.

Now a fixture in Winnipeg's cultural scene, Kirby continues to perform, compose, and record; his newest CD, Stepchild (2012), features the incredible fire power of the U of M Jazz Faculty, AKA, The Northern Prairie Jazz Collective. In addition to his responsibilities as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Manitoba, Professor Kirby is also director of the U of M Summer Jazz Camp, artistic director of the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances, and editor of dig! magazine, Winnipeg’s bi-monthly jazz publication, creator and director of Jazz on Wheels (a mobile, inner city jazz education performance program) and The Bridge Program: Music Learning for Life.

Kirby’s gifts as a performer, clinician, and speaker have inspired audiences in concert halls, clubs, inner city street festivals, community centres, high school gyms, and university classrooms around the North America and beyond. He shares not just his deep passion for jazz, but the tenets of tolerance, self-expression, and community-building that are at its core.



U of M National Ad
Canada Council for the Advancement of Education Gold Medal Award Winning Photo
for 2013 University of Manitoba National ad campaign!


Education B.Mus (Webster University, St. Louis, MO)
M. Jazz Composition (Manhattan School of Music, NY)
Performance Highlights

2003 - present: performances as director of Oceanic Jazz Orchestra at 2009 TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival opening for LCJO and in 2010 for the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances, U of M Summer Jazz Camp concerts featuring Steve Turre, Miguel Zenon, Steve Wilson, Wycliffe Gordon, Avishi Cohen, Terreon Gully, Jimmy Greene, George Colligan,
Gary Smulyun and Herlin Riley.

Izzy Asper Jazz Performances: Kenny Barron, Mulgrew Miller, Steforn Harris, Houston Person, Marcus Printup, Victor Goines, Joe Lovano, Oliver Jones, Winard Harper,

1990 - 2003: performed, toured and/or recorded with: Abbey Lincoln, Wynton Marsalis, James Carter, Kathleen Battle, Stefon Harris, Joe Lovano, Benny Green, Joanne Brakeen, Jacky Terrason, Eddie Henderson, Wycliffe Gordon, Wess "Warm Daddy" Anderson, Miguel Zenon, Lester Bowie, John Hicks, Herlin Riley, Anat Cohen, Regina Carter, Greg Tardy, Steve Turre, Kenny Barron,

1999 - 2001: bass player for Elvin Jones & Jazz Machine

1993 - 1998: bass player for Cyrus Chestnut Trio.

Ongoing Research & Creative Activity

Artistic Director, Izzy Asper Jazz Performances

Creator and Editor, dig! Magazine (Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine)

Artistic Director,  Jazz On Wheels (an inner city Jazz education program)

Director, The Bridge Program: Music Learning For Life

Board of Directors, TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival

Director, U of M Summer Jazz Camp


2013 - Farewell 274: Winnipeg's Jazz Community Celebrates Aqua Books - Know -A- Sad Music
2012 - The Skeptic and The Cynic - Curtis Nowosad
2012 - Stepchild - Steve Kirby and The Northern Prairie Jazz Collective
2007 - Wicked Grin - Steve Kirby & Larry Roy
2000 - Chasin' The Gypsy - James Carter - Atlantic Records
1998 - Live At The Village Vanguard - Wess "Warm Daddy" Anderson
1998 - In Carterian Fashion - James Carter - Atlantic Records
1997 - Shades Of Blue - Anna-Lisa Kirby - NJR Records
1995 - Earth Stories - Cyrus Chestnut - Atlantic Records
1994 - The Dark Before The Dawn - Cyrus Chestnut - Atlantic Records

Awards and Recognition
2010 University of Manitoba Creative Works Grant
2007 University of Manitoba Annual Outreach Award
2006 Xerox Jazz Winnipeg Jazz Educator of The Year Award

Steve Kirby Quartet at TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival 2012
w/ Winard Harper, Larry Roy & Derrick Gardner

B. Mus (Webster)
M. Jazz Composition (Manhattan School of Music)

Associate Professor
Director of Jazz Studies



Room T241
Desautels Faculty of Music
University of Manitoba
136 Dafoe Rd.
(204) 474-6872

Teaching Activites:
Jazz Double Bass
Jazz Pedagogy
Jazz Ensembles
Director, Jazz Lab Band

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June 24 2016 performance at The Winnipeg International Jazz Festival
of Steve Kirby composition entitled Telluride


June 24 2016 performance at The Winnipeg International Jazz Festival
of Steve Kirby composition entitled Duende's Dance


People are talking about ALL OVER THE MAP
The Winnipeg Free Press - There's A Map for That

The Whole Note - A thoughtful review
From ici Musique - Steve Kirby’s Oceanic Jazz Orchestra : le centre du monde est à Winnipeg L'écoute est terminée

Oceanic Jazz Orchestra Facebook Page
All Over The Map Web Site


Articles and Interviews:

 The Winnipeg Review: The Jazz Capital of Canada?
The Winnipeg Review: Steve Kirby's Northern Prairie

CBC Manitoba Scene: Steve Kirby brings dynamic energy to Winnipeg's Jazz Scene

CBC Manitoba Scene: Jazz On WheelsCBC Blog Post: Jazz On Wheels rolls through Winnipeg
CBC Blog Post: Top 5 Bass Players in Canada


Notable Editor's Letters written by dig! Magazine Editor, Professor Steve Kirby:



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