November 11th, 2021 7pm Stage 3
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Steven Kirby’s “Illuminations” Project: has been described as “richly textured, multi-layered, ebullient and lyrical jazz”. It features original compositions and arrangements, as well as some creative arrangements of standard tunes, using a quintet of instrumentalists and a singer performing both wordless and lyrical vocals.
Steven Kirby is an award winning guitarist/composer and Associate Professor of Harmony at Berklee College of Music. He is also on the music faculties of Wellesley College and Brandies University. His music is most often categorized as contemporary jazz but his influences are widely varied. He is active in a variety of styles and has appeared on over 25 released recording in genres including jazz, rock,fusion, singer/songwriter, folk, classical.
He has produced 3 CDs as leader, all of which were released internationally to critical acclaim. Downbeat magazine has called him “... a guitarist of rippling technique and a poet mind, (who) has developed a modern jazz guitar style that bridges the angular lyricism of Pat Metheny and the painterly asceticism of Jim Hall”.
The recordings (Point of Balance and North Light) both on the European based Challenge Records, and his most recent, Illuminations (WCS) all have garnered critical acclaim and international radio and internet play. Kirby has won composition awards and accolades from Downbeat, Billboard and the International Songwriting Competition and has received numerous positive reviews in all major jazz publications.
The Illuminations Project is Kirby’s newest compositional and performance endeavor. It features a six piece band comprising guitar, piano, sax/flute, bass, drums and, for the first time, vocals as a primary, featured, color in the compositions. The vocalist is Aubrey Johnson, a virtuosic singer who is capable of using her voice like an instrument to sing complex lines with wordless technique while also being able to sing lyrics with masterful interpretation and phrasing.
Most of the compositions featured on Kirby’s upcoming “Illuminations” recording were inspired by the idea of featuring wordless vocals in the midst of richly textured compositions. There are also pieces which include lyrics as well as entirely instrumental pieces. In addition to showcasing these rich compositions and arrangements the “Illuminations” project features a first rate roster of jazz musicians who all make invaluable creative contributions as interpreters and improvisors.
The CD Illuminations was released in August 2016. It was a Downbeat Editor’s Pick in Jan, 2017. “... a guitarist of rippling technique and a poet mind, has developed a modern jazz guitar style that bridges the angular lyricism of Pat Metheny and the painterly asceticism of Jim Hall .