The Silent Wish is a 2020 JUNO Nominee for "Best Instrumental Album of the Year".
Here are just a few responses to the duo work of Bill McBirnie and Bernie Senensky:
SIR JAMES GALWAY—"I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your latest, and greatest, CD. I’ve listened to it several times and it’s a really terrific record. You are my favourite jazz flutist…This album is a real knock-out!…"
DOWNBEAT—“Toronto’s deep pool of local talent was on display at dozens of events…Opening for Eliane Elias, flutist Bill McBirnie proved a passionate and eloquent improviser with sure-footed support from pianist Bernie Senensky. Their set included...a show-stopping finale penned by Senensky...inspired by Hermeto Pascoal and Charlie Parker.” (Allen Morrison)
JAZZTIMES—"Best Opening Act [at the TD Jazz Festival] – Eliane Elias delivered a solid, opening-weekend show at the Old Mill Inn, focusing squarely on selections from her recent Chet Baker tribute, I Thought About You. But it was the dynamic opening duo of pianist and composer, Bernie Senensky, and flutist, Bill McBirnie, that...truly set the expansive dining room aflame and, ironically, provided far more satisfying dips into the Brazilian songbook.” (Christopher Loudon)
PERSONNEL & CREDITS
Bill McBirnie – flute (alto flute on track 10)
Bernie Senensky – piano
Produced – by Bill McBirnie
Co-produced – by Pacy Shulman
Engineering, mixing & mastering – by Pacy Shulman of Hilo Studio
Picture of Bill's hands – by Bill Beard (courtesy of Jazz.FM91)
Picture of rain-drenched branches – Image 306339 (courtesy of Wall Haven)
Layout, design & manufacturing – by Staci Patten of Accurate Audio & Design
Recorded June 4th and 5th, 2018 at Hilo Studio, Toronto, Ontario
Bill is a Designated Haynes Artist and, on this recording, he plays a vintage silver Wm. S. Haynes flute (equipped with Jim Schmidt's gold flute pads, a David Welans headjoint and a Robert Bigio titanium crown and stopper). On track 10, Bill plays a vintage Armstrong alto flute.
My wife, Sveta, comes out to many of my gigs and, when she does, I often make it an occasion to say to the audience, “The band does not take any requests, except from my wife!” Of course, I say this in mock dismay, and after many years of having to put up with this, I like to think that Sveta has come to see this remark as mildly amusing.
...However, I could be wrong...
And if I am, then I want you to know that The Silent Wish was inspired by Sveta and is whole-heartedly dedicated to her, because she has been, and continues to be, my most steadfast and dedicated support...in everything I do...
This project came about because Sveta had been asking me for years to record an album consisting exclusively of tunes she likes, because she says, “What I like, others will like too, Billy.” So at last I am honoring her “request”, and while some of her picks may appear obvious (such as “Black Orpheus” or “Blue Bossa”), many are not (such as “Saber Cair”, “Cabana Boy” and “Away From Home”). In any event, Sveta's Russian spirit radiates throughout, because every song she has chosen is in a minor key, and this feature of the repertoire weaves a thread and imparts a theme that I think will resonate with anyone and everyone (...and there is no doubting Sveta's good common sense and astute judgement...in this as well as many other things...)
Finally, the title of the album, The Silent Wish, is a fragment from the lyrics to the closing track, “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?” This fragment has a certain charm and mystique about it that I would like to think is relevant to all of us. But most of all, to Sveta whom I trust will always be near enough to hear...the silent wish I make...
For the past 15 years, I have been playing with one of this country's most formidable musicians, Bernie Senensky. This started about 15 years ago when Bernie recruited me to play flute for his Moe Koffman Tribute Band which Bernie put together after his own 20-year tenure in Moe's band.
When I first moved to Toronto in the '70s to attend university, I would go to the jazz clubs (including George's Spaghetti House) where I would often get to hear Moe and Bernie (though as little more than “an adoring fan” because I had stopped practicing the flute while pursuing another discipline altogether at that time).
In my mid 20s, I started to practice the flute again and decided that, instead of being “script bound” by classical music, I would improvise instead. After some years of what was largely self-study, it came as a complete surprise when Bernie asked me to serve, not just one but two of the musicians (Bernie and Moe, both of whom I had long admired) by joining the Moe Koffman Tribute Band.
I have subsequently worked with Bernie in a broad range of circumstances. Indeed, this is the third album where I have recruited Bernie to perform with me in, what is here, a very direct and immediate duo format.
On the last four of my recordings, Pacy Shulman of Hilo Studio has always done a fantastic job of engineering, mixing and mastering. Yet again, you get to listen to everything with crystal clarity.
I would like to convey my gratitude to Canada's premier jazz station, Jazz.FM91, for its longstanding support of my work (as well as that of other Canadian indie musicians) which, in my particular case, began in 1998 with the release of my very first Extreme Flute project (Desvio) and has been ongoing ever since.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?
What are you doing the rest of your life?
North and south and east and west of your life
I have only one request of your life
That you spend it all with me
All the seasons and the times of your days
All the nickels and the dimes of your days
Let the reasons and the rhymes of your days
All begin and end with me
I want to see your face in every kind of light
In fields of dawn and forests of the night
And when you stand before the candles on a cake
Oh, let me be the one to hear
The silent wish you make
Those tomorrows waiting deep in your eyes
In a world of love you keep in your eyes
I'll awaken what's asleep in your eyes
It may take a kiss or two
Through all of my life
Summer, winter, spring and fall of my life
All I ever will recall of my life
Is all of my life with you
1 Reflection (Ray Bryant) – Latin/swing
2 Black Orpheus/Morning Of The Carnaval (Luis Bonfa) – slow bossa nova
3 Saber Cair/Knowing How To Fall (Louis Simão & David French) – Maculelê
4 Cabana Boy (Michele Mele) – relaxed bossa nova
5 My Heart Belongs To Daddy (Cole Porter) – up swing
6 First Song (for Ruth) (Charlie Haden) – ballad
7 Recado Bossa Nova (Djalma Ferreira) – up bossa nova
8 Dança da Solidão” (Paulinho da Viola) – relaxed samba
9 No Moon At All (David Mann) – medium swing
10 Away From Home (Bill McBirnie & Bruce Jones) – rhapsody
11 Blue Bossa (Kenny Dorham) – medium bossa nova
12 What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?
(Michel Legrand, Alan & Marilyn Bergman) – ballad
Bill McBirnie/Extreme Flute
Phone: (416) 652-541