Renowned flutist Bill McBirnie and songwriter Bruce Jones have collaborated on the new album Forever. The seven songs on the album spur a whirlwind (pun intended) of reactions, all of which feel sincere and authentic. All but one of the tracks is instrumental, giving the listener free range to dive into the tiny moments that create a larger, thrilling tale. Forever is an impassioned collection and is the perfect outing for jazz enthusiasts served with a side of samba.
Joining in on the fun is bassist Robin Latimer. Each chapter, it seems, tells a different tale of love, friendship or adoration. What I found to be a running experience was the connection to nature. A sense of wonderment. The first few songs, “Criole Blessing” and “Song For Svetlana” cast a charming, seductive tone. It’s idyllic that they are the opening numbers, as if they were priming or just starting out the party. As the songs move along, as do the temperatures and tempos. In “This Passion”, the tones are humid and shoulder-pumping. “It’s The Time” has a gripping guitar – the guitar neck’s break is heard in just about every stanza. I loved that this is present. I wanted to live within the walls of this song and the aching guitar reminds me of taking advantage of the day. Seize the day, the guitar seems to infer. “It’s The Time” had such an inspiring tone, and also one that made me feel 10 feet taller and ready to take on the world.
The title track ups the ante, securing a robust, imaginative sound. This particular track really threw off an essence of letting go, allowing the music to take over. Like ribbons floating on a perfect afternoon, “Forever” curls and dances lively. Then, in “Dreams And Light” the sojourner continues on a fresh, well-lit pathway. It’s engaging and invigorating all-at-once. I closed my eyes and the colors that emerged were a bouquet of oranges and reds. The flute, to me, also elicits an organic tone, a connection to nature. It’s like Mother Nature whispering in your ear an enthusiastic hello or encouraging ‘you can do this – dream big, dream a lot’ she seems to convey. If you were to take the flute out of the equation, I’m not sure you would have the same feeling. It would be a completely different emotion. I’m quite impressed either way, but the flute really added a nice texture.
Finally, in the Portuguese-sung “Full Moon Blue Wolf” (translated to Lua Cheia Lobo Azul), we finally get to hear Jones’ voice. His balladeer approach is warm, and he ignites a hum along response. The echoing flute (once again) takes the lead as the cascading percussion meanders closely behind. “Full Moon Blue Wolf” is a calming, cobalt-blue sonic journey. It breathes nocturnal vibes, the kind of tones that make for an evening night-cap or walk alongside the beach. You might not be howling like a wolf, but you will feel the murmuring of the flute sing its tune. As the song ends, you are refreshed, replenished for more.
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