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May 1999

Steven Kirby
Point of Balance
Big Round Records

In contrast to the seemingly typical Boston-based Berklee-produced guitarist with distinct bebop leanings, Kirby gravitates toward cultivating his own music, which at times utilizes alternative harmonies and explores textures and moods beyond the straightahead sphere.

Along for the journey on this project are bassist par excellence Harvey Swartz and a cast of capable East Coast players.

Kirby occasionally demonstrates that he has beaucoup chops (the title track, "Travels," "A High Place"); however, he uses them with restraint, favoring a more melodic overall approach that establishes a sonic/musical environment. His priorities become particularly evident on the more reflective material ("Dawn," "Mid-Winter Night's Dream," "When I Knew," a composition that gracefully increases in intensity), which tends to use the instrument more for its tonal colors and lyrical properties than blatant blowing. And while his tone and creative approach recall the work of Pat Metheny, Kirby's creative music-frequently beautiful and always well played-results from personal expression that transcends mere imitation.

Originally published in May 1999
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