Bill McBirnie (born
May 23 1953) is a jazzand Latin flutistfrom Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has studied with Canadian flutist and composer, Robert Aitken, as well as Cuban charangalegend, Richard Egues. McBirnie is known for his outstanding technique on the entire family of flutes (from bass fluteto piccolo).
He is also recognized as an accomplished improviser, notably in the
bebop, swing and Latin idioms as illustrated by his recordings as a sideman with Junior Mance, Irakere, Memo Acevedo and Cache.
McBirnie has produced two EXTREME FLUTE projects and, more recently, two straight-ahead acoustic jazz recordings under his own name entitled "Nature Boy" (featuring The Mark Eisenman Trio) and “Paco Paco” (featuring pianist,
Bernie Senensky). Both of these albums have attained Top 40 spots in Jazz.FM91's and Bob Parlocha’s syndicated jazz program as well as steady air-play in their spin cycles. Both albums have also garnered consistently excellent reviews internationally—in Canada, the USA, Britain, Spain, Holland and France. Here are some illustrative comments regarding Bill’s work:
:“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)
:"I have never heard anyone play like this...Bill, when you read this, I have to take my hat off to you. This is great playing by any standard." (Sir James Galway)
:“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 also been chosen Flutist of the Year by the Jazz Report Awards, nominated as Miscellaneous Instrumentalist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards as well as being declared a winner of the U.S.A. National Flute Association’s triennial Jazz Flute Masterclass Competition. More recently, he was nominated as Instrumentalist of the Year (for flute) and Album of the Year (for "Paco Paco") at the National Jazz Awards. He has also been a longstanding contributor to the Woodwinds column of the Canadian Musician magazine and is currently the resident Jazz Flute Specialist at Sir James Galway's web site.
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