In the Faculty :
Director of Jazz Studies
Director of small jazz ensembles
Co-Director of U of M Jazz Orchestra
Committee Member: Ensemble Committee, Graduate Committee
In the Community:
Artistic Director of the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances
Artistic Director of Jazz On Wheels (an inner city Jazz education program)
Board of Directors, COOL Jazz Winnipeg Festival
Creator and Editor, dig! Magazine (Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine)
Director, U of M Summer Jazz Camp
Clinician for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Band Directors Academy
Room 309 Music Building, (204) 474-6872, email@example.com
University of Manitoba Jazz Director Steve Kirby on Jazz:
“I believe that Jazz music is one of the most powerful tools in history for unifying our world’s social and cultural community. Born in the North American community and accepting of all societal participation, Jazz is the confluence of two mainstream cultures in our modern society. Rhythm language, which is an African tradition, speaks directly to the soul of us all and is meticulously blended with the European art of song form and melody. A more accurate name description for Jazz is ‘Spontaneous Composition Performance Music.’”
In the summer of 2003, Steve Kirby accepted the position as the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Manitoba. Since then, Steve has overseen a full-fledged rejuvenation of the jazz scene in Winnipeg.
Immediately after arriving, Steve performed in a special concert with the 2003 Summer Jazz Camp’s guest artist, legendary trumpeter Clark Terry. In October, Professor Kirby joined forces with the campus corporation Smartpark, to create the Jazz Innovators Series. In its first year, the series brought Jazz Journalists Association 2002/2001 Trombonist of the Year Wycliffe Gordon, and Jazz Journalists Association 2003 Strings Player of the Year, Regina Carter to campus for one-week residences. Both musicians led master-classes and rehearsals for students, culminating in performances with students and faculty. The 2004-05 Artists are trumpeter Nicholas Payton and vocalist Luciana Souza. In Steve’s first year as Director of the U of M Summer Jazz Camp, he brought in drummer Herlin Riley, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, and saxophonists Greg Tardy and Miguel Zenón to work with students of many skill levels.
Steve has taken the opportunity to travel throughout the province of Manitoba and offer Jazz clinics to local high schools and educational organizations. Likewise, he is performing in a variety of settings with Manitoba‘s finest musicians, groups and organizations including the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra and Ground Swell New Music Series. Steve has twice worked with Björn Thoroddsen, Iceland’s 2003 Jazz Musician of the Year, performing concerts in several spots in Manitoba, one of which was recorded for CBC National Radio.
In March of 2004, Steve spearheaded the creation of what has become a weekly jazz institution in Winnipeg – the “COOL Monday Night Hang.” Taking its cue from the many jam sessions Steve participated in as a professional musician in New York, the “Monday Night Hang” is a place where students, faculty, seasoned professionals, and visiting artists can hone their skills and exchange ideas in a live performance setting.
An ongoing project which Steve has undertaken for the Jazz community in Winnipeg is the creation of the monthly periodical, Dig! Magazine. Dig! is created by Jazz educators, professional performers, writers, students and fans of Jazz. Dig! is designed to mirror the growth and gauge the health of Winnipeg’s Jazz scene. The magazine also serves to co-ordinate and promote the Jazz events that the many local and visiting presenters offer in Winnipeg and throughout the province.
Steve is in the process of creating the Jazz Studies Degree at the U of M. This comprehensive program will be the first of its kind in Western Canada. Currently, the University of Manitoba offers Degrees in Music Performance with a Jazz emphasis at the undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate levels.
Steve Kirby’s career as a jazz musician spans over 25 years of performance collaboration with many of the finest artists in the field, both in North America and abroad. Throughout these years, his role as an educator has been a fundamental and vital part of his commitment to music.
Steve has performed extensively and recorded with some of the most high profile Jazz Artists on the scene today. He spent two years as bassist for Elvin Jones and Jazz Machine and four years with Cyrus Chestnut Trio. He is the bass player on two of Mr. Chestnuts Atlantic Recordings: the critically acclaimed Dark Before the Dawn and Earth Stories. He has also performed in club and/or concert hall settings with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz @ Lincoln Center, opera star Kathleen Battle, legendary Jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln, Jazz violinist Regina Carter and The Joanne Brackeen Trio featuring Horatio "El Negro" Hernandez. He has toured with saxophonist James Carter, and plays bass on Carter’s 2001 Atlantic label release: Chasin’ The Gypsy as well as his 1997 release In Carterian Fashion. He toured with trombonist and shell master Steve Turre; Blue Note recording Artist Jacky Terrasson; and the Lee Morgan Tribute Band featuring Joe Lovano, Eddie Henderson, Benny Green and Winard Harper.
In addition to his busy performing career, Steve received his Masters Degree in Jazz Composition from the Manhattan Faculty of Music. Over the years, his interest in education is reflected in his many "extracurricular" projects and activities on and off the bandstand. In 2002, executive director Loren Schoenberg appointed Steve Kirby as a permanent member of the planning conference committee for the Jazz Museum in Harlem. For the past several years he has given workshops and clinics with the Carnegie Hall Jazz Outreach Program, as well as Lincoln Center Jazz Educators.
Steve was on the faculty of the F.A.M.E Academy Jazz Camp at Princeton University under the direction of Delfeayo Marsalis and, he taught for the Friends of the Arts Program with Cecil Bridgewater, which brings jazz education into public and private schools throughout the Long Island area. Steve also taught in with the Coalition for Social Change New York City, funded by Bette Midler in conjunction with Midori and Friends. (Additionally, Steve is in the process of completing a bass instruction book and an improvisation methodology text.)
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Steve graduated from Webster University with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1985. Steve has studied with a great number of professional instructors; including Ron Carter, Rufus Reid, Dave Holland, Buster Williams, Red Mitchell and Homer Mensch, former principal bass of the New York Philharmonic.
Creative and Research Activity: