And in closing, something completely different – the latest from Mr. “Extreme Flute” Bill McBirnie
. On Grain of Sand (EF07 extremeflute.com)
McBirnie once again teams up with Latin multi-instrumentalist Bruce Jones
, revisiting a partnership which resulted in the 1998 album Desvio
. Jones wrote all the music, some of the tunes in collaboration with McBirnie, and the results are predominantly Brazilian-inspired samba and bossa nova style with plenty of Jones’ distinctive nylon-string guitar and vocals. Although only the two musicians are involved they have used the recording studio to good advantage, creating a multi-layered offering that is especially effective in the flute duet over guitar and ambient drone in Lembrando Paul Horn
(Remembering Paul Horn). Other influences include hip-hop and funk and the end result is a diverse mosaic ranging from the mellow Vai Bem Devagar
(Proceed with Caution) to the bouncing Cê Tá Com Tudo
(You Are Everything), while maintaining an integral continuity. McBirnie’s flute, although not particularly “extreme” in this instance, is lively and lilting as it soars over the bed tracks laid down by Jones, in the forefront in the instrumental tunes where it has the dominant melody and tastefully in the background or heard in duet with Jones’ voice in the songs with lyrics. I only wish they had included the words and translations in the package. This is good time music, well played and obviously enjoyed by McBirnie and Jones. It takes me back to my introduction to this genre back in the 1970s when I first heard Brazilian icon Jorge Ben (Jor). Thanks for the memories!