Dave Fries' Jazz Pick- Bill McBirnie Trio

Jan 29, 2014

Consummate Canadian jazz and Latin flutist Bill McBirnie has released a new album (his sixth) which departs, in a significant way, from all three of his previously acclaimed acoustic jazz projects (Mercy with Robi Botos; Paco Paco with Bernie Senensky; and Nature Boy with Mark Eisenman). On Find Your Place, Bill has placed the flute in a very unlikely setting—as part of an organ trio!

For this singular format, Bill has recruited two outstanding fellow Canadian musicians—Bernie Senensky on Hammond B3 organ and Anthony Michelli on drums. As Bill scintillates on the flute, Bernie delivers a distinctly Larry Young kind of “edge" on the organ while Anthony provides nonstop "snap, crackle and pop" on the drums. Find Your Place showcases a broad scope of material ranging from modal (“Yes Or No”), to Latin (“Soy Califa”), to gospel (“Yes Indeed!”, for Sir James Galway) right on through to a Beatles' classic (“Oh! Darling”). Concluding this more standard fare on the album is the title track, “Find Your Place”, an original written by Bill and dedicated to his wife, Svetlana.

In keeping with Bill's most recent acoustic jazz projects, Find Your Place combines a clear acoustic sonority with the raw authenticity of a blowing session, resulting in an album with “drop-the-needle-anywhere” presence and charm.

The origins of this unusual organ trio project came about at the recording session for one of Bill's previous albums, Paco Paco, which also featured Bernie Senensky, but who played piano on that prior occasion. As fate would have it, upon arrival at the studio for the Paco Paco recording, Bernie detected a Hammond B3 organ in the corner and, given his known enthusiasm for—as well as prowess on—that instrument, Bernie was excited at the prospect of perhaps playing organ on the Paco Paco session. However, the piano was set up, miked and ready to go—whereas the organ was not. So, after pleading with Bernie (and, as Bill put it, ”virtually having to pry both his arms and his fingers from around the Leslie cabinet”), Bill was finally able to placate him by promising to let Bernie play the organ...on another occasion!...With the release of Find Your Place, that occasion has arrived!

This unique organ trio format is also distinguished by the presence of drummer, Anthony Michelli, for whom Bill has been a longstanding advocate because of his remarkable skill, versatility and musicianship. So now, with all three members of this singular trio combined, they present their fresh – and entirely musical – takes on:

(1)    So In Love (Cole Porter) – Latin
(2)    Yes Indeed! (Sy Oliver) – for Sir James Galway – gospel
(3)    Sister Sadie (Horace Silver) – swing
(4)    Oh! Darling (Lennon/McCartney) – shuffle
(5)    Minority (Gigi Gryce) – bebop
(6)    Estate (Martino/Brighetti) – bossa nova
(7)    Jeannine (Duke Pearson) –
(8)    Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You (Redman/Razaf) – ballad
(9)    Yes Or No (Wayne Shorter) – modal
(10)    Soy Califa (Dexter Gordon) – Latin/swing
(11)    Rhythm-A-Ning (Thelonious Monk) – swing
(12)    Find Your Place (Bill McBirnie) – for Svetlana - bossa nova

Find Your Place is available at Amazon and iTunes.