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. He demonstrates uncanny ability as an improviser throughout, beginning with a Latin-styled Porter classic, "So In Love," delivering one mighty solo after another. The variety of selections even touches upon gospel sound with a bouncy rendition of Sy Oliver's "Yes, Indeed!" The trio takes off on a swinging read of Silver's spicy "Sister Sadie," then launches into a humbling treatment of the Lennon/McCartney shuffle "Oh! Darling," where Senensky's talents on organ are aptly displayed.
McBirnie keeps the sound interesting by evoking a little bebop flavor on the Gigi Gryce standard "Minority." The entire band is in exceptional form, with solos from each member. A standout tune is the gorgeous, bossa nova-styled "Estate," eclipsed only by a swinging version of Duke Pearson's oft-recorded "Jeanine," clearly an album highlight. The group slows down for the recording's only real ballad, with the warm "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You" and then turns modal on Wayne Shorter's "Yes Or No," before returning to Latin flair in a nice, peppy take on Dexter Gordon's "Soy Califa."
The album closes with a swinging rendition of Monk's "Rhythm-A-Thing" and a terrific, bossa nova-tinged McBirnie original, the title track dedicated to his wife, Svetlana. There seems to be a little something for almost everyone who likes music on this varied effort, making it easy to find your groove, as McBirnie so appropriately states. Flute, organ and drums never sounded so good together as on the well-crafted Find Your Place, sure to find its place in the discerning jazz aficionado's collection.
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.
Bill McBirnie: flute; Bernie Senenesky: Hammond B3 organ; Anthony
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