Bill McBirnie: The Silent Wish

Don Phipps By

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On this set of choice covers and one original, Bill McBirnie uses the flute to express dancing, happiness, blues, romance and melancholy. Sliding effortlessly along the keys of his instrument, McBirnie produces a wonderfully cool tone. Take his work on Ray Bryant's "Reflection" or Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa." There's a peppy action to it, like a kite darting back and forth in the sky.

The album features musical conversations between McBirnie and pianist Bernie Senensky. These conversations have their bluesy moments and Latin flair, but even so, they never stray far from bop. On the Cole Porter tune "My Heart Belongs To Daddy," McBirnie pushes the music along, and Senensky's piano (think Lennie Tristano) follows with solid standard piano lines that provide a strong thematic foundation. On "Recado Bossa Nova," McBirnie whirls and twirls like a Spanish dancer spinning along a wood dance floor.

The minimalist approach to the arrangements lets both musicians shine. On David Mann's "No Moon At All," McBirnie alternates between the highest and lowest registers of the flute. It's as if Pan himself decided to enter into some dark jazz café and go to town. And on "Away From Home," a ballad McBirnie co-wrote with Bruce Jones, or the Michael Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman tune "What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life?," McBirnie and Senensky offer poetic and melancholy variations.

For those looking for a "cool jazz" experience, McBirnie and Senensky hit all the right buttons, keys and chords.

Track Listing

Reflection; Black Orpheus/Morning Of The Carnival; Saber Cair/Knowing How To Fall; Cabana Boy; My Heart Belongs To Daddy; First Song (for Ruth); Recado Bossa Nova; Dança da Solidão (Paulinho da Viola); No Moon At All; Away From Home; Blue Bossa; What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?.


Bill McBirnie: flute; Bernie Senensky: piano.

Album information

Title: The Silent Wish | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Extreme Flute



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