Bill McBirnie - Extreme Flute

Bill McBirnie - Extreme Flute

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN

Bill McBirnie is a Canadian jazz and Latin flutist of exceptional calibre who is now garnering excellent critiques - as well as airplay - internationally.


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. Bills extraordinary level of skill as a flutist led to a personal solicitation from no less than Sir James Galway to serve as his resident Jazz Flute Specialist at Sir James' official website.

Athough Bill is known for his outstanding technique, he is also recognized as an exceptional improviser (notably in the bebop, swing and Latin idioms) as demonstrated by his numerous recordings as a sideman with the likes of Junior Mance, Irakere, Memo Acevedo and Emilie-Claire Barlow. Needless to say, Bill has performed and recorded extensively with Toronto's finest musicians, including being a 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 you 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 Canadas standout jazz flautist. I maintain he is one of the top two or three in the world." MARK E. GALLO (

- "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 two straight-ahead acoustic jazz recordings under his own name, entitled Paco Paco (featuring pianist, Bernie Senensky) and Nature Boy (featuring The Mark Eisenman Trio). Both of the latter albums have attained Top 40 spots at Jazz.FM91 and on Bob Parlocha's US syndicated jazz program as well as received regular air-play in their respective spin cycles. In addition, both have garnered consistently excellent reviews internationally, in Canada, the USA, Britain, Australia, France, Holland, Greece and Spain.

Bill's more recent release, Mercy (featuring Romani piano sensation, Robi Botos), has been receiving, yet again, regular radio exposure as well as uniformly outstanding reviews throughout North America, Europe and Australia. This album also won a Toronto Independent Music Award (2010) and was nominated for a US Independent Music Award (2011).

In addition, Bill has been chosen Flutist of the Year by the Jazz Report Awards, nominated as Miscellaneous Instrumentalist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards and declared a winner in all three of the National Flute Associations Jazz Flute Soloist, Jazz Flute Masterclass and Jazz Flute Big Band Competitions. Bill is also a designated Hayes Artist, an active teacher/clinician and a longstanding contributor to the Woodwinds column of Canadian Musician magazine.

A Brief Summary of Some of Bill's Awards & Achievements:

- Wm. S. Haynes Co. - Designated a "Haynes Artist" in 2013
- National Flute Association - Winner - Jazz Flute Soloist Competition in 2012
- USA Independent Music Awards - Nominated - Best Jazz Album (Mercy) in 2011
- Toronto Independent Music Awards - Winner - Best Jazz Album (Mercy) in 2010
- National Flute Association - Winner - Jazz Flute Big Band Competition in 2009
- National Jazz Awards - Nominated - Best Album (Paco Paco) in 2007
- National Jazz Awards - Nominated - Best Instrumentalist (Flute) in 2007
- Resident Jazz Flute Specialist at Sir James Galway's Official Web Site since 2005
- Top 40 Album - Jazz.FM91 & "Jazz With Bob Parlocha" (Nature Boy) in 2003
- National Flute Association - Winner - Jazz Flute Masterclass Competition in 2003
- The Jazz Report - Flutist of the Year in 1999




"Find Your Place" - Bill McBirnie (featuring Bernie Senensky & Anthony Michelli)
"Mercy"- Bill McBirnie (with Robi Botos) - 2010
"Paco Paco"- Bill McBirnie (with Bernie Senensky) - 2006
"Nature Boy" - Bill McBirnie (with Mark Eisenman) - 2003
"Scratch It!" - Extreme Flute - 2002
"Desvio" - Extreme Flute (with Bruce Jones) - 1998

You can buy CDs and MP3s at CDBaby ( and MP3s at iTunes.

Set List

Find Your Place - CD

(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) – swing
(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

Mercy - CD

(1) Baila Cinderella (Hubert Laws) – for Hubert Laws – cha cha cha
(2) Willow Weep For Me (Ann Ronell) – for Jeremy Steig – ballad
(3) Airegin (Sonny Rollins) – bebop
(4) Stuffy Turkey (Thelonious Monk) – medium swing
(5) Gentle Rain (Louis Bonfa) – slow bossa nova
(6) I’m Walkin’ (Bartholomew/Domino) – medium swing
(7) Yardbird Suite (Char