When Sony Music recording engineer Mark Wilder (Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Miles Davis) returned the final mastered version of All Over The Map, he said this: “By the way, Steve Kirby IS A BADASS. Every once in awhile a project comes in that just blows me away. This was the 2016 project. It is an amazing record on so many levels. It moved me.”
Led by composer and jazz bassist Steve Kirby, the Oceanic Jazz Orchestra is a hybrid jazz-classical ensemble, with instruments like bassoon, oboe, pedal steel, and classical violin folded in alongside vibes, trumpet, saxophone, flute, and vocals. The compositions are equally far-ranging in their rhythmic and structural qualities, borrowing from jazz, folk, rock, hip hop, baroque, French impressionist, electronic, and tango.
Now the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Steve Kirby came to Winnipeg with an international reputation as a premier jazz bassist. He toured and recorded with a who’s-who of jazz: Wynton Marsalis, Elvin Jones, Cyrus Chestnut, Abbey Lincoln, and more.
With the OJO, he has assembled an extraordinary ensemble, featuring top-flight players from both the jazz and classical worlds. The group’s debut, All Over the Map, will be released February 18, 2017.
All Over the Map is hard to capture in words. Think of it as a suite of postcards, or a collection of cultural fingerprints from various locations along the line that stretches from the southern tip of Argentina to the frozen reaches of Nunavut. This vertical line across the map informs the working title of the suite of compositions: The Longitude Project. Every composition is distinct in style and structure, and they range in tone from seduction to rage to stubborn hope. Paradoxically, all the discrete parts cohere because ultimately the album is an exploration of the challenge and richness of being alive, of the deep humanity we all share, no matter where we live and how different our customs and cultures.