This is the rather magical 3rd album from one of the impeccable jazz bands to emerge at the dawn of the 21st century. One of the impeccable jazz bands in the history of the music, actually.
Petit Oiseau ("little bird" in French) was recorded in December 2006, during a highly inspired & productive 3-week period of studio sessions that also saw the recording of Corn Meal Dance (by the Quartet-expanded Raining On The Moon ensemble) and Alphaville Suite (Parker's new soundtrack to the Godard film, performed by Double Quartet). This would also be the last time the Quartet+ hit the studio until the late 2016 election-season session that resulted in the almighty Meditation/Resurrection double-album. The intervening years of profound activity by this group were documented on the monumental 8CD live box set, Wood Flute Songs, which is forthcoming up here on bandcamp.
Some press responses on Petit Oiseau's original 2008 release..
“This superb studio session features the same passionate swing and heartfelt lyricism that made their debut record, O'Neal's Porch, an instant classic. Few veteran working groups are able to balance inside/outside traditions as gracefully as Parker's flagship ensemble has over the past decade.” –Troy Collins, All About Jazz
“Bassist-composer William Parker’s quartet may be the best working band in jazz today. No one in the band ever simply marks time; there’s a stream of invention from reed player Rob Brown, trumpeter Lewis Barnes, drummer Hamid Drake, and the leader that never lets up. Every track contains examples of their excelling collective and individual brilliance. On songs (Parker’s term) such as the “Groove Sweet” medley and “Four for Tommy,” the music undergoes continuous, beautifully synchronized transformation, the foursome’s elaborations on the melodic and rhythm elements of the tunes growing ever more urgent and celebratory .. There’s something singing at the center of Parker’s deep woody sound, something that animates his bass lines with an intense warmth and humanity, and it radiates outward through the group. Their liberated and disciplined use of the music’s possibilities makes this a deeply hopeful and uplifting album.” –Ed Hazell, Point of Departure
"The spirit is strong in this music, not just because the grooves are killing but because the players are so well attuned to each other on multiple levels. They make a case for improvising as a way to build bridges between peoples, if we would all just listen to each other." –Kevin Whitehead, NPR