|In the second set, guest flutist Bill McBirnie stepped up to play with the warmed-up Biali trio.
This listener anticipated hearing material from McBirnie's new prize-winning CD, Paco Paco, but the set proved to be a true guest outing for McBirnie who improvised energetically on a mix of Biali compositions the bossa nova-styled "Like Minds" and the anthem-themed "Flying" and really got down on one of Biali's reharmonized 'standards', "Here Comes The Rain", based on the classic ballad, "Here's That Rainy Day".
On "Here Comes The Rain", the spirit of play was especially high, as McBirnie dropped his right shoulder into the current of high velocity lines flying out of his flute, now and then counterbalancing the pouring sound with his right knee upraised.
McBirnie's fleet silvery playing was featured with the Biali Trio this particular afternoon. Meanwhile, a guy in the audience told me that a few weeks ago saxophonist Tara Davidson played with the trio at The Pilot, so this practice of guesting inviting musical friends to play with you is something that Laila Biali has been developing at The Pilot.
Grander scale guesting is practiced by the American 'pop jazz' trumpet player, Chris Botti, who recently got a PBS tv special together and invited stars like Sting and Gladys Knight to perform with him in a concert hall in front of a full orchestra with strings and winds, plus a jazz trio, all of it framed by lush arrangements.
So here was the Laila Biali Trio at The Pilot, with Bill McBirnie guesting in a small-scale setting. It was an audience-friendly afternoon of modern jazz standards, Biali's many-part compositions, and some interesting pop jazz tunes.
No, it wasn't just bebop, and maybe that's good.