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Old Jun 30, 2009, 12:33 PM
Bill McBirnie Bill McBirnie is offline
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Special Edition - Flute News - Mark Eisenman - Article & Transcription


This particular mail-out is designated as a "special edition" because it consists essentially of an article and transcription of one of Mark Eisenman's piano solos - and one that I have always liked!

I recognize that you may not have the time to investigate the content of this right now - but, if so, then I would encourage you to archive this for future reference!

The article appended below will likely never be published. Nonetheless, the content will inevitably be of considerable interest to many of you. (I feel that I can say that with considerable confidence - regardless of whether you are familiar with Mark's work or not...and, if not, then now is your chance to find out about him!... :-)

At 550 words, the text is relatively short. However, the text is not nearly so important as the transcription. Please note carefully that there is a link to a transcription of Mark's solo embedded in the text of the article. From this link, you can go on-line and proceed directly to the transcription...and then simply print it off! (It's three pages in length.)


Bill McBirnie - Extreme Flute
Phone: 416.652.1541
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"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is." (Yogi Berra)


Pianist, Mark Eisenman, needs no introduction to Canadian jazz audiences or musicians. Indeed, as a longstanding and active participant in the jazz community in this country, Mark has unquestionably established himself as one of its elite members.

Although Mark was born in New York City, he has lived in Toronto for the past 25 years. He studied music at York University where he obtained a Fine Arts degree and where he now teaches (in addition to teaching privately).

I could begin to catalogue all—or even some—of the musicians Mark has both performed and recorded with over the many years he has been on the scene. However, that would prove to be exhausting. Suffice it to say that any such catalogue would include an extensive “who’s who” of national as well as international luminaries.

Mark is a much sought after pianist in his capacity both as an outstanding accompanist and as an excellent soloist quite simply because his keyboard style embodies so many of the finest qualities of his influences (who would undoubtedly include such pianists as Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Hampton Hawes, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and McCoy Tyner).

This article presents merely one sliver of Mark’s work—more specifically, a transcription of his improvised piano solo on the tune, "Billy Boy", which he recorded with me a few years ago as part of my first acoustic jazz release, Nature Boy (Extreme Flute EF03) and which session included the able support of Steve Wallace on bass and John Sumner on drums.

I have long admired Mark’s solo on this particular track and, accordingly, it had always been my intention to transcribe it. Although quite a few years have passed since I sat down and transcribed any solos, I finally took the time to transcribe this one because it displays such an impeccable and unhurried choice of notes (with hardly a flourish throughout) while, at the same time, it conveys a powerful and sure-footed sense of swing coupled with Mark’s own ineffable soul factor. It also just happens to demonstrate how hip one can be on what is merely a traditional children’s tune!

This version of “Billy Boy” was performed in keeping with the original as recorded by The Red Garland Trio on the Miles Davis album, Milestones (Columbia). However, we played it at a somewhat more relaxed tempo during the course of which Mark took a solo consisting of two choruses that I have transcribed here.

In addition to the transcription, you will find a corresponding—albeit rough—audio component embedded in the on-line notation at Noteflight, located at the following web site: Please note that the full and specific URL for the transcription is as follows:

Of course, any notation/audio software does not—and cannot—capture the nuances of Mark's time and embellishments. For these, you will really have to listen to Mark’s solo as recorded on the Nature Boy album (which is readily available at either Indie Pool, CDBaby or iTunes). Having said that, at least the Noteflight notation/audio software conveys Mark's right-hand lines and provides you with a pretty good idea of what the piano solo actually looks and sounds like.

In conclusion, after finally getting around to transcribing Mark’s improvised piano solo on “Billy Boy”, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mark for delivering such an exemplary solo which, if scrutinized closely, can provide an excellent music lesson—for all of us!

Bio Tag: Bill McBirnie is a jazz and Latin flute specialist located in Toronto. He has been chosen Flutist of the Year by the Jazz Report Awards, nominated as Instrumentalist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards and declared a winner of the USA National Flute Association’s triennial Jazz Flute Masterclass Competition. He has also produced several Extreme Flute projects to date including his most recent, Paco Paco, with Bernie Senensky (piano), Neil Swainson (bass) and John Sumner (drums). All are available from Indie Pool, CDBaby or iTunes. If you wish to contact Bill, you can reach him directly at

Copyright, Bill McBirnie, 2009
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Old Jul 3, 2009, 11:15 PM
paul paul is offline
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more mark

Check out Mark playing with alto sax player Campbell Ryga, bassist Doug Stephenson and drummer Blaine Wikcjord... Saturday afternoon between 5 and 6 on Hot Air... recorded live this past week in CBC Studio One -- outstanding! Not a bad note.
Paul Grant
Hot Air
CBC Vancouver
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