Saxophone trios don't have to be brainy, bloodless affairs, as alto man Sherman Irby demonstrates on "Big Mama's Biscuits."
Irby demonstrates a strong sense of empathy with bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Clifford Barbaro, whether digging into the bluesy terrain of "Conversing with Cannon" or saluting his Southern heritage on the up-tempo "Bama" and strolling ballad "Aunt Dorothy." Smartly varying the stark sounds that dominate the disc, Irby and Cannon are joined by trumpeter Roy Hargrove, drummer Dana Murray and pianist James Hurt on the soulful title track. Irby pairs with guitarist Ed Cherry on the melancholy "Lake Tuscaloosa" and spars with Cannon on a lovely version of Billy Strayhorn's "Take the 'A' Train," making these "Biscuits" taste more like a full meal.
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