Live tapes of Charlie Parker, often of abysmal quality, seem to be an inexhaustible resource. Unearthed, remastered and released by special permission of Parker's estate, BIRD IS FREE is of notably better quality than most, though the near-total lack of liner notes is somewhat disappointing. Recorded before a vocally appreciative audience at Harlem's Rockland Palace Dance Hall on September 26, 1952, this dance set finds the great alto player swinging with ease through a fairly brief set composed mostly of standards such as Gerry Mulligan's "Rocker," Johnny Mercer's "Laura" and "This Time The Dreams Are On Me" and Lester Young's "Lester Leaps In." Only a third of the nine tracks are Parker originals, relaxed renditions of his classic "Cool Blues," "Moose the Mooche" and "My Little Suede Shoes." Throughout, Parker plays with inimitable style and good humor and his quartet, featuring the great drummer Max Roach, swings effortlessly.
AllMusic Review by AllMusic