Profile description of Bill McBirnie - Extreme Flute:

Bill McBirnie

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. Bill’s 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.

Although 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 he 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 Canada’s 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 four straight-ahead acoustic jazz recordings under his own name entitled, Find Your Place (an organ trio featuring Bernie Senensky), Mercy (featuring Robi Botos and which won a Toronto Independent Music Award and earned a nomination in the USA Independent Music Awards), Paco Paco (featuring, Bernie Senensky) and Nature Boy (featuring The Mark Eisenman Trio). All of these albums attained Top 40 spots at Jazz.FM91 and on Bob Parlocha's USA syndicated jazz program as well as receiving regular air-play in their respective spin cycles. In addition, all of these albums have garnered consistently excellent reviews internationally (in Canada, the USA, Britain, Australia, France, Holland, Greece and Spain).

In addition, Bill was chosen Flutist of the Year by the Jazz Report Awards, nominated as Miscellaneous Instrumentalist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards and is a winner in all three of the National Flute Association’s (1) Jazz Flute Soloist, (2) Jazz Flute Masterclass and (3) 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.

Contact: or (416) 652-1541

    • 164 bpm
    • Key: Dm
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