Canadian jazz flautist Bill McBirnie fronts a unique organ trio on Find Your Place, his sixth album as a leader. McBirnie lends his Extreme" flute and award-winning chops to an array of swing, Latin-flavored, bossa nova, shuffle and ballads in one audacious outing. Joining forces with fellow Canadians Bernie Senensky on Hammond B3 organ and Anthony Michelli on drums, the trio play their way through a sensational selection of standards from such icons as Cole Porter, Horace Silver, Duke Pearson and Thelonious Monk, among others. A jazz and Latin specialist based in Toronto, McBirnie's reputation is solid. ...read more
The standard organ trio doesn't usually include a flute. On paper, it sounds like a bad idea. It seems as if the cool breeze aspects of the airy blowing of the flute would get lost in the organ's electric woosh. As it turns out, flutist Bill McBirnie's Find Your Place, proves those seemingly similar sounds to be quite complimentary. The genesis for the project lies in the recording of a previous McBirnie set, Paco Paco (Extreme Flute, 2005). A Hammond B3 lurked in the studio. Keyboardist Bernie Senensky wanted to give it a try, but the piano won ...read more
Bill McBirnie is an award-winning flutist, based in Toronto, Canada and Mercy is the fourth release on his own independent label, Extreme Flute. The album is divided into two parts with a quartet performing on seven songs, and a duo, featuring McBirnie and pianist Robi Botos, covering five songs. The liner notes indicate the project was recorded over two days in the summer of 2009, with the quartet performing on day one and the duo the following day. The quartet includes Botos, and is rounded out by a solid rhythm section, featuring bassist Pat Collins and drummer John Sumner. The ...read more
Bill McBirnie weaves a magic spell as he embarks on a musical journey that stops at 12 vantage points. McBirnie has established an enviable reputation as a flautist, with a particular emphasis on Latin jazz. Here, he goes way beyond that calling as he plays bebop, swing, Dixieland, bossa nova, and rock 'n' roll by way of New Orleans. Not only is he comfortable in every style, he elevates each to a high plateau.
McBirnie's explorations are luminous. He makes each note glow--the shades and contrasts as equivocal as the emotion and verve. Gentle Rain" is one of the more ...read more
By its very nature and high and lonesome sound, the flute is a solitary instrument. Although played from ancient times, the modern flute as a solo voice has been rather seldom heard compared to other woodwind--especially reed--instruments. But non-existent it is certainly not. First Frank Wess' then Herbie Mann's and Hubert Laws' work certainly comes to mind. In Canada the instrument has been a part of the fine tradition that owes much to Moe Koffman, and lately the maestro, Bill McBirnie. The flutist's self-produced Mercy is a true gem. The record comprises a series of duo and ...read more
Flutist led jazz records are quite infrequent, which makes one of quality all the more a find. Toronto-based Bill McBirnie's Mercy is mostly comprised of standards from a variety of jazz styles. The only original composition is the title track, by pianist Robi Botos. The diversity in styles, from trad jazz to Latin, does not affect the unity of the recording's theme, but creates a unique multifaceted whole thanks to McBirnie's versatility and superlative musicianship. McBirnie is a well-known flautist with numerous recognitions and recordings to his name, and on Mercy he lives up to his reputation. ...read more
Meet Bill McBirnie: Bill McBirnie is a jazz and Latin flute specialist and has studied with renowned American flutist, Samuel Baron, distinguished Canadian flutist and composer, Robert Aitken, and Cuban charanga legend, Richard Egues. He is recognized as a consummate technician and an accomplished improviser - notably in the bebop, swing and Latin idioms - as demonstrated by his recordings as a sideman with Junior Mance, Irakere, Memo Acevedo, Cache and Emilie- Claire Barlow. He has also produced two straight- ahead acoustic jazz recordings under his own name, Nature Boy and Paco Paco, both of which have entered in JazzFM91's ...read more