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Bill McBirnie - Extreme Flute

A superior jazz and Latin flutist from Canada who is now garnering an international reputation.

About Me

Bill McBirnie, author of The Technique and Theory of Improvisation, is a jazz and Latin flute specialist based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has studied with renowned American flutist, Samuel Baron, distinguished Canadian flutist and composer, Robert Aitken, as well as Cuban charanga legend, Richard Egües. Bill’s extraordinary level of skill as a flutist led to a personal solicitation from no less than Sir James Galway to serve as his Resident Jazz Flute Specialist at Sir James' official website.

Although Bill is known for his outstanding technique, he is also recognized as an exceptional improviser (notably in the bebop, swing and Latin idioms) which is corroborated in his many recordings as a sideman with the likes of Junior Mance, Irakere, Four80East, Memo Acevedo and Emilie-Claire Barlow. Needless to say, Bill has performed and recorded extensively with Toronto's finest musicians, and is a charter member of Bernie Senensky's, Moe Koffman Tribute Band.

Here are a few illustrative comments regarding Bill's work:

- “Dear Maestro McBirnie, ...This just blew me away. Great, great playing...Innovative...I have never heard anyone play like this...Great technique and music making. The scales are so even it sounds like [you] wrote the Taffanel scale book...Bill, when you read this, I have to take my hat off to you. This is great playing by any standard.” SIR JAMES GALWAY (Galway-Flute-Chat)

- “In both duo and quartet formats, McBirnie dazzles...In every instance, his technique is flawless, dynamic and often simply jaw-dropping...McBirnie has been called Canada’s standout jazz flautist. I maintain he is one of the top two or three in the world.” MARK E. GALLO (JazzReview.com)

- “A distinguished flutist with a devotion that shows up in the airy sweetness of his sound at ballad tempos and in the remarkable control he can bring to rapid-fire, skittering runs on up-tempo, Coltrane-inspired material.” STUART BROOMER (Editor, Coda magazine)

- “McBirnie has always handled bop exceptionally well. You can hear his years at the conservatory in his sound, a pure, transparent tone at rest, brightening with exertion, yet he swings like someone who grew up with a large collection of Blue Note and Prestige LPs down in the basement. He's entirely idiomatic, but also effortlessly inventive.” MARK MILLER (The Globe and Mail)

- “...All beautifully recorded, unclassifiable, and virtually timeless...” MICHAEL STEINMAN (Cadence Magazine)

Bill has five straight-ahead acoustic jazz recordings under his own name entitled, The Silent Wish (with Bernie Senensky which received a 2020 JUNO nomination for Best Instrumental Album of the Year), Find Your Place (an organ trio featuring Bernie Senensky which won the 14th annual Vox Populi Best Jazz Album award at the Independent Music Awards in the USA), Mercy (featuring Robi Botos which won a Toronto Independent Music Award, and earned a nomination at the USA Independent Music Awards), Paco Paco (featuring, Bernie Senensky which was nominated at the National Jazz Awards as Album of the Year), and Nature Boy (featuring The Mark Eisenman Trio which attained a Top 40 spot in Bob Parlocha's USA syndicated jazz program and received regular spins on his show, year after year). Needless to say, all of these albums have garnered consistently excellent reviews, in Canada and abroad.

In addition, Bill was chosen Flutist of the Year by the Jazz Report Awards and nominated as Miscellaneous Instrumentalist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards. He also bears the singular distinction of being the only triple- crown-winner in all three of the National Flute Association’s jazz flute (1) Soloist, (2) Masterclass and (3) Big Band Competitions. Bill is also a Designated Hayes Artist, an active teacher/clinician and a longstanding contributor to the Woodwinds column of Canadian Musician magazine.

Website: http://www.extremeflute.com Contact: [email protected] or (416) 652-1541 Albums: https://billmcbirnie-extremeflute.bandcamp.com The Technique and Theory of Improvisation: Available at all Amazon websites

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because it is a "free" musical idiom that allows me to improvise and be myself. I was first exposed to jazz as a child by my Father who was not a musician, but he was a very astute listener. I met Sir James Galway in 2014 when he invited me to perform a concert with him at Koerner Hall here in Toronto. The best show that I ever attended was a concert by Milton Nascimento which was held at the main tent of the Toronto International Downtown Jazz Festival. I have never seen a concert where the performer and the audience were so "connected". The first jazz album I ever bought for myself was Hubert Laws, The Laws of Jazz (though I admit that my Mother paid for it!) Finally, my advice to new listeners is, "Always listen to some Louis and Pres!"

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