Bill McBirnie 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 Egues. Bill has also been solicited by no less than Sir James Galway to serve as his resident Jazz Flute Specialist at Sir James' official web site.
Bill is well known for his outstanding technique. However, he is also recognized as an exceptional improviser (notably in the bebop, swing and Latin idioms) as demonstrated by his recordings as a sideman with Junior Mance, Irakere, Memo Acevedo and Emile-Claire Barlow. Needless to say, Bill has performed and recorded extensively with Toronto's finest musicians and is a longstanding 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 he 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 produced two Extreme Flute projects as well as four straight-ahead acoustic jazz recordings under his own name including (1) Nature Boy (featuring The Mark Eisenman Trio), (2) Paco Paco (with Bernie Senensky, Neil Swainson and John Sumner), (3) Mercy (featuring Robi Botos), (4) Find Your Place (an organ trio featuring Bernie Senensky and Anthony Michelli) and (5) The Silent Wish (with Bernie Senensky). All of these albums have attained Top 40 spots at Jazz.FM91 (and previously Bob Parlocha's syndicated jazz program) as well as steady air-play in their respective spin cycles.