Originally from outside Liberty, Missouri, Jeff started playing and developing his musical skills at 7 years old and then took up guitar at 13 years old. He started off as a strictly fingerstyle guitarist, and then pretty soon was studying everyone from Steve Vai to Pat Metheny. He fell in love with jazz and jazz band in high school, and made All-District Jazz Band in Kansas City, Mo. His specialties are composing, playing jazz guitar in many different ensembles, and teaching. He first attended UCM, and as a graduate of University of North Texas with a jazz performance degree, he has since been growing in the Kansas City thriving jazz scene. From traditional to modern, he is always trying to create and innovate, while honoring the tradition. In September 2021, JAM Magazine (KC's Jazz Ambassador Monthly magazine) readers nominated Jeff as one of the top four favorite jazz guitarists in the city.
His band, the Jeff Shirley Organ Trio, is playing all-original jazz at Green Lady Lounge, late night, every Monday and Thursday, with people like Mark Slimm, Brian Steever, Antonio Reyes, and others. He also plays with RSS Trio late night at Green Lady every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. When he can, he also plays at Black Dolphin, the historic Mutual Musician's Foundation (including hosting the jam); The Phoenix; The Blue Room (including hosting the jam session), as well as other venues and high-profile events in KC. These include being featured on the NPR radio show "12th Street Jump," a featured act at Jazz Ambassador’s SupperClub, numerous civic events hosted by Mayor Sly James, and more.
His album "3 Degrees Above Absolute Zero," from 2012 (available on iTunes and Amazon) combines electronic music and jazz guitar, and he produced all the music in his home studio. It's funky and upbeat, he played and recorded everything himself (except for the turntable scratching).
Jeff’s 2018 album "Point of the Story" (Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, and all others) has been included on many platforms, including regular rotation on Green Lady Radio and KKFI 90.1, and websites/blogs like those of Debbie Burke and Johnson County Library. "Point of the Story" included Roger Wilder, Bob Bowman, Matt Leifer and Ryan Theilman.
He released his newest album "Blue Gold" (Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, and all others) on June 10, 2022. On this one, Jeff plays electric guitar, acoustic, fretless, guitar synthesizer, sitar, lap steel and 12-string guitar on this album. Musicians joining Jeff on this one are Mark Slimm, Kevin Young, Bryan Alford, Antonio Reyes, Misha Roberts, Bryan Foote and Max Levy. It's been reviewed by Plastic Sax, JAM Magazine, and Jeff has recently been on Joe Dimino's "Neon Jazz" podcast and also live on the radio on 90.1 KKFI twice with the Jazz Canadian, Brad Gregory to talk about it.
He teaches guitar at R.E.W. Music, in Lenexa and Olathe, Kansas.