Flutist Bill McBirnie  Teams up with Bruce Jones for “Forever”

The aptly-named Forever is the new album from acclaimed flutist Bill McBirnie featuring song composed by songwriter Bruce Jones and electric bass work from Robin Latimer. Awash with Brazilian jazz textures, the listener gets a solid sense of longing stories tethered to strong emotions. The even-flow of sultry bass lines, and the airy flute combines for a remarkable listening experience in all seven tracks. These harmonies and the change-ups feel as though they indeed last forever, a heartfelt reminder that the power of music is limitless. 

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From the opening “Criole Blessing”, a carnival-like number that slowly sways the hips, to the fluttering acoustic guitar in “It’s The Time” and finally to “Full Moon Blue Wolf”, the only song on the album that features vocals, Forever triggers a wave of euphoria and sensory explosions. McBirnie has the distinction of being the only triple-crown-winner in all three of the National Flute Association’s jazz flute Soloist, Masterclass and Big Band Competitions. His jazz instincts and virtuoso performances in all the tracks is outstanding. It’s near impossible to not listen to these songs and understand the importance of his contributions. The tracks would have a completely different vibe and tone. 

One song that really surprised me was “Song For Svetlana”. I was expecting something very samba – but that tone came across very subtly to me. I did, however, feel as though this song had a wintery sound. Not grey or white but longing as if there were a blank canvas. As if there were worlds separating the protagonist and the artist. My mind escaped to the cooler, chillier worlds of Russia or the Swiss Alps. Mountainous. I’m not sure why and how. “Song For Svetlana” had a completely different approach.

The dance that is created in “This Passion” is so vibrant. It’s dripping with emotion and the flow of the song just begs to be played in a live, club setting. It harnesses that anticipation, the electricity of a live performance. I could feel the invisible conversation between artist and listener. It was nearly tangible and a thick layer of sultry orchestration served as the ebb and flow. 

I have to rave, too, about “Dreams And Light”. The opening percussion clops along like a heartbeat. The flute is rowdier, more confident. The rhythm of the song is a nice tempo, a fantastical journey that leaves time to watch and really take in the surroundings. The flute possesses a warm, bright presentation. I felt like the stirring percussion was just another way of the gregarious beat to nudge the flute even more so into the spotlight. I liked the way the flute soars, like a butterfly making its rounds throughout a large garden. The entire song just rings with joy and love. 

Forever is for the true music fan – the seeker for songs with depth. The intricate layering of the flute, sometimes pressed softly against the percussion, other times they take turns in a tennis match. Forever is for the jazz fan and the soundscapes ready to explore. Forever is for the masses. 

Michael Rand

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