Bill McBirnie is a jazz flutist from Port Colborne, who now lives in Toronto Canada.
He studied with American flutist Samuel Baron, Canadian flutist and composer Robert Aitken, and Cuban charanga musician, Richard Egues.
McBirnie has worked in the bebop, swing, and Latin idioms, as illustrated by his recordings as a sideman with Junior Mance (Here 'Tis, Sackville Records), Irakere (Afrocubanismo Live, Bembe Records), Memo Acevedo (Building Bridges, Jazz Alliance), Emilie-Claire Barlow (The Very Thought of You, Empress Music), and Cache (Blended and The Toronto Sessions, Indie Pool) . He is a charter member of Bernie Senensky's Moe Koffman Tribute Band.
McBirnie has produced two Extreme Flute albums (Desvio and Scratch It!) and three acoustic jazz albums under his own name entitled Nature Boy and Paco Paco (featuring pianist Bernie Senensky). These albums have consistently attained Top 40 spots at Canada's jazz station, Jazz FM 91, and in the U.S. on Bob Parlocha's syndicated jazz program.
McBirnie was chosen Flutist of the Year by the Jazz Report Awards, nominated as Miscellaneous Instrumentalist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards as well as being the only winner in all three of the U.S.A. National Flute Association's jazz flute (1) Soloist, (2) Masterclass and (3) Big Band Competitions. He has also been a longstanding contributor to the Woodwinds column of the Canadian Musician magazine and was recruited personally by James Galway to serve as his resident Jazz Flute Specialist at his official web site.
- McBirnie's album Mercy (featuring Romani pianist Robi Botos), has garnered critical success and the 2009/2010 Toronto Independent Music Award (TIMA) in the Best Jazz category.
- "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, Toronto Life, April 2004)
- "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, page R6, Thursday, December 19, 2002)
- "All beautifully recorded, unclassifiable, and virtually timeless..." (Michael Steinman, Cadence Magazine, July 2004, page 109)
- 1998 Desvio (Extreme Flute)
- 2003 Nature Boy (Extreme Flute)
- 2004 Scratch It! (Extreme Flute)
- 2006 Paco Paco (Extreme Flute)
- 2009 Mercy (Extreme Flute)
- 2015 Grain of Sand (Extreme Flute)
- 1992 Here 'Tis, Junior Mance (Sackville)
- 1994 Building Bridges, Memo Acevedo
- 1995 Grey Angel, Jacek Kochan
- 1996 Afrocubanismo Live!, Chucho Valde;s
- 1999 Live at the HotHouse Cafe, Brenda Carol
- 2002 Nura, Nura
- 2003 Laugh, Michele Mele
- 2004 This Is Lula!, Vol. 1: Cache; Blended, Cache;
- 2006 I Love Being Here with You, Dione Taylor
- 2006 Toronto Sessions, Cache;
- 2007 The Very Thought of You, Emilie-Claire Barlow
- 2010 The Beat Goes On, Emilie-Claire Barlow
- 2012 Cha Cha, Michele Mele
- 2012 Off Duty, Four80East
- 2015 X-Treme Latin Jazz, Bobby Rice