251

Bill McBirnie: Mercy

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Bill McBirnie: Mercy 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. He is not only the leader, but also the sole woodwind on the front line. McBirnie sticks to playing the flute, unlike similar sessions led by the likes of Bobby Jaspar and Yusef Lateef, where they alternate between flute and other reed instruments.

For most of his bopish tracks McBirnie has chosen compositions by saxophonists, and he wields his instrument with great agility and facility through the intricacies of the melody and the improvised solos. He swings hard during the up-tempo pieces and shows remarkable sensitivity without losing the creative edge during the duet ballads with Botos. He has his own sound on the flute, which is vaguely reminiscent of Jaspar's, albeit a bit huskier.

The rhythm section provides sympathetic solid support throughout. Botos solos on almost all the pieces while the other members do so occasionally. All three musicians demonstrate remarkable artistry throughout the set, both in the group interplay and when under the spotlight.

The music is not revolutionary nor do the solos venture too far from the original melody. Yet the improvisations are creative enough to make listening to them a highly enjoyable experience.

Bill McBirnie and his fellow musicians have produced a musical work that, while not breaking fresh ground, maintains enough innovative creativity, thanks to their superior musical skills, to reward repeated listenings.

Track Listing: Baila Cinderella; Willow Weep For Me; Airegin; Stuffy Turkey; Gentle Rain; Im Walkin; Yardbird Suite; Way Down Yonder In New Orleans; Moments Notice; Minha Saudade; Groovin High; Mercy.

Personnel: Bill McBirnie: flute; Robi Botos: piano; Pat Collins: bass; John Sumner: drums.

Title: Mercy | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Playing the 60s" CD/LP/Track Review Playing the 60s
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Flying Machines" CD/LP/Track Review Flying Machines
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "Obnoxius" CD/LP/Track Review Obnoxius
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Like, Strange" CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Grace" CD/LP/Track Review Grace
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 8, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.