Bill McBirnie & Bruce Jones
Grain of Sand
Score: 4/5 Stars
You can tell by listening to real music by the impression it makes on the world and by the footprint it leaves behind. Sometimes it can come out in a passionate vocal line, a social movement, or a song that is played or sung with emotional bewilderment. The new album by Bill McBirnie and Bruce Jones entitled “Grain of Sand” is a non-stop homage to heart-tugging sexy urban-jazz, as I like to call it. Making use of every emotion in the book, it’s hard not to find something you’ll like on this 14 track collection. The first 3 tracks “Grain of Sand”, “Se Us Fico Com Voce” and “Quando A Chuva Cai” pretty much sums it all up. The lead off title track gets the party started right with easy going vibe that really keep the essence of the music refined but somewhat impassioned. As the CD progresses it doesn’t take long to see that’s not what McBirnie is all about though. He plays the flute like an experienced professional. Who’s that singing? I like how McBirnie and Jones let it all hang out on vocals. Sometimes you don`t need too much to create something high quality and powerful. I’ve often heard the term “Keep it Simple Stupid”. Keeping this in mind there’s no over the top musical theatrics on “Grain of Sand.” In this aspect McBirnie & Jones keep it in the fairway but pull it off flawlessly. What you see is what you get with these two is big win that is stunning as much as it is marketable. There is definitely a mood assigned to each song. My ears picked up to the vocal style right away, a pretty common tongue and cheek playing style for this kind of mood music. When delivered in the right manner it can become almost intoxicating and yes sexy. McBirnie has soul. Add in the vocals – that will literally make you want to dance. All songs are delivered with eloquently, emotion and conviction and you will come to understand why McBirnie is turning ears. The playing style from McBirnie & Jones just flows so well almost like a ship lost at sea. I’ve only heard a handful of players execute this style well – and Miles Davis is one of them.
The music is comparable to: Joe Farrell, Jeremy Clay, Roger Glenn, Dan Trimboli and Albert Socarras.
“Breque Paul Horn” and “Na Quinta Esquina” are 2 more standout tracks with a distinctive voice for the masses to consume. “Carnaval Blue” and “Grao de Areia” are defiantly groomed for airplay. Most songs to me are about themes of love, honesty, soulful-sexy and seductive overtones, transformation, resurrection, life and fear of the unknown. Swaying between Mood Music and Urban Jazz these 14 songs kick out the jam with things move close to earthy Jazz but never cross the line into that territory. The mix presents low and moody frequencies adding a huge helping of Synth/Guitar/Flute/Voice in the forefront.
Bill McBirnie and Bruce Jones on “Grain of Sand” have all the components necessary for a popular artist/album. He no doubt has a solid live presentation – a big component necessary to be a popular artist these days. All of above make Bill McBirnie Bruce Jones stand out within their own terms of musical passion, thus showcasing the power of life itself.