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The Bill McBirnie Trio: Find Your Place

Dan McClenaghan By

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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 that day. But the organ's day would come, with Find You Place. Senenesky gets his turn on the organ on what has the sound and feel of a good old fashioned blowing session. McBirnie and and Senenesky are joined by drummer Anthony Mitchell, who adds a distinctive crackle and pop puntuation behind his cool breeze compatriots.

"So in Love," from the pen of Cole Porter opens the set. Senenesky lays down a background of short, rhythmic syllables behind McBirnie's long lines and Mitchell's constant sizzle on a tune suffused with the Latin vibe, leading into a deep gospel groove on "Yes Indeed." Pianist Horace Silver's "Sister Sadie" swings freely, and The Beatles "Oh! Darlin'" sounds as if it was made to be played by this odd configuration.

These are soulful sounds. Duke Pearson's "Jeanine" features McBirnie's succinct articulation on full display, and saxophonist Wayne Shorter's "Yes Or No" leads the trio into a modal mood. Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-A-Ning has never sounded quite so buoyant and bright, and the title tune/closer, a McBirnie original wraps up an unusual and superb recording on a Bossa Nova note.

Track Listing: So In Love; Yes Indeed!; Sister Sadie; Oh! Darlin; Minority; Estate; Jeannine; Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You; Yes Or No; Soy Califa; Rhythm-A-Ning; Find Your Place.

Personnel: Bill McBirnie: flute; Bernie Senenesky: Hammond B3 Organ; Anthony Mitchell: drums.

Title: Find Your Place | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Extreme Flute

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