|The Comforts of Modern Jazz
by David Fujino January 2006
This new Bill McBirnie CD features the fluent flutist in the company of Bernie Senensky piano, Neil Swainson bass, and John Sumner on drums.
Nine of the tracks are jazz tunes while "East of The Sun", "O Grande Amor", and "Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus", are the exceptions. It's a comfortable set of twelve tunes.
McBirnie's transparent tone is a pleasure to hear, as are the forward thinking bass lines of Neil Swainson and John Sumner's ever vigilant and supportive drums.
McBirnie's approach is a mix of Bop and Swing. Senensky's piano follows suit, but Senensky also likes musical jokes and extended harmonies at interesting points.
On Thelonious Monk's "Hackensack", McBirnie's affection for the blues and Senensky 's extremely playful boogie woogie left hand are what ring clear. "Doxy", the Sonny Rollins classic, swings nicely. McBirnie solos smart and focused. Senensky is playful and inventive. And on Monk's "Bright Mississippi", where McBirnie plays virtuoso flute, Senensky plinks away in the Monkian fashion.
A standout track for me is the quartet's interpretation of Keith Jarrett's "My Song", a slow reflective piece with rich Gospel sounds and a sense of communal deep song. Thanks, guys.
Another track that really counts is the last track, "O Grande Amor", with its emotional current of cry and mystery that is at the core of so much Latin music.
Thanks again, guys.