This is the third release of the William Parker Quartet, consisting of Rob Brown on alto, Lewis Barnes on trumpet, Hamid Drake on drums and the leader on bass. The two previous albums "O'Neal's Porch" (of which I have a spare copy in case something goes wrong with the first one) and the live record "Sound Unity", both get a 5-star rating (in my pre-blog personal list of all records I ever listened to). William Parker has many bands and many styles of modern jazz, ranging from intimate world music to avant-garde big band, with in between vocal jazz, free jazz, and many others. This quartet is without a doubt one of the best in my opinion, because of its strong musicianship, its powerful freedom that is anchored in blues and traditional jazz, and which is, above all, so deeply emotional. The title, "Petit Oiseau" refers to a tone poem by William Parker about a little bird that is born without wings, and his mother tells him that he has to learn to fly from within, which he does successfully and he flies higher than any other bird. The band brings their usual wonderful combination of powerful and rhythmic vamps, rhythm and tempo changes with strong melodies and long expressive soloing. Yet in contrast to their previous releases, there is a much stronger mainstream base here, with clear themes, played in unison by the horns. To me, personally, I prefer the previous albums of this band, because they are more direct and less polished than this one. The higher refinement creates a little more distance between performer and listener, at least this listener likes it a little rawer. The album is bookended by two long tracks, the first a suite, with various themes and rhythms, the last one a long and sad tribute to trumpeter Alan Shorter. The second track "Talap's Theme" is inspired by the Sami people of northern Scandinavia, but the song's basic structure, rhythm and call-and-response theme sounds almost African. Other influences emerge too : "Dust From A Mountain" is world music, with just Parker on cedar flute and Drake on frame drums in the first half of the piece, and "Malachi's Mode" has Afro-Carribean influences and is probably the album's most joyous track. This is by all means an excellent album, one which is highly accessible and should, let's hope it, offer the William Parker Quartet the wider audience it deserves.