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by Don Phipps
On this set of choice covers and one original, Bill McBirnie uses the flute to express dancing, happiness, blues, romance and melancholy. Sliding effortlessly along the keys of his instrument, McBirnie produces a wonderfully cool tone. Take his work on Ray Bryant's Reflection" or Kenny Dorham's Blue Bossa." There's a peppy action to it, like a kite darting back and forth in the sky. The album features musical conversations between McBirnie and pianist Bernie Senensky. These conversations have ...read more
by Edward Blanco
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 ...read more
by Dan McClenaghan
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). ...read more
by Paul J. Youngman
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 ...read more
by Jerry D'Souza
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 ...read more
by Raul d'Gama Rose
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 ...read more
by Hrayr Attarian
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 ...read more