Available at CDBaby and iTunes on MARCH 2, 2015.
PERSONNEL & CREDITS:
Bill McBirnie – flute, alto flute (tracks 3 & 14) & piccolo (track 9)
Bruce Jones – guitar, vocal, percussion & synths
Produced by – Bill McBirnie & Bruce Jones
Recorded at – Da Da Music, Toronto, Ontario
Engineered by – Bruce Jones
Edited & Mixed by – Bill McBirnie & Bruce Jones
Mastered by – Pacy Shulman at Hilo Studio, Toronto, Ontario
Cover Photo by – Gongbass
Layout, Design & Manufacturing by – Staci Patten, Accurate Audio, Toronto, Ontario
Bill plays a Wm. S. Haynes flute, a DynaLance headjoint (made by Guo Musical Instrument Co.), an Armstrong alto flute and a Gemeinhardt piccolo.
Bruce Jones and I first collaborated about 15 years ago on my debut album, Desvio (which was subsequently nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award). This initial recording project came about as a consequence of working regularly with Bruce's Brazilian rock band, Da, and as a further consequence of dressing tracks for Bruce on his various Da, Amazon Dreams and other recording projects. After a while, I had done so much work with Bruce (whose songwriting I always admired) that I suggested to him, “Maybe we should try and do a flute-oriented project.” To my surprise, Bruce was more than happy to oblige and that suggestion evolved into our first album, Desvio, which he dubbed “extrema flauta” (and which we anglicized as “Extreme Flute”).
Our musical paths diverged thereafter but, about a year ago, Bruce asked me to do some dressing for a couple of tracks he was working on. This went really well and, in the course of doing so, I learned that Bruce had a lot of material in various stages of completion on his hard drive. Once again, I suggested to him, “Maybe we should extend ourselves and do another flute-oriented project.” Yet again, Bruce was happy to oblige and Grain of Sand is the result. As fate would have it, this project has evolved into another incarnation of Extreme Flute!
Bruce is—and always has been—enormously talented, on multiple dimensions. Musically, what he does is ostensibly Brazilian (in no small measure because he was raised in Brazil). However, he combines that rich musical heritage with many other influences, ranging from rock & roll and hip-hop to new age. For me, the big draw in working with Bruce has always been both the diversity of his material and his openness to improvisation (which is what I like to do most of all). These features of his work have always provided us with a solid basis for collaboration—both then and now.
A project of this nature—involving just the two of us—takes considerable time to complete and so it inevitably proceeds in stages. Each track starts with Bruce writing, playing and recording whatever idea he has in mind. After Bruce has laid down what is often a fairly complete track, we then overlay any flute melodies he has in mind. In addition, we conjure up shots and harmony parts and overdub these. After that, we go back and I improvise over the entire track. Finally, we take whatever we have (...which is typically far too much...) edit it and mix it down. Of course, we “subtract” far more than we “add” as the process unfolds until sooner or later (...usually later...) we find what we're after.
The end result of this most recent collaboration, Grain of Sand, is both a fitting theme and title, because there always has been—and there always will be—a lot more from wherever this came.
Finally, Bruce and I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Canada's premier jazz station, Jazz.FM91, for including “Tudo Bem” (a track from our first collaboration, Desvio) in their spin cycle for what is now close to 15 years!