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Sherman Irby: Big Mama's Biscuits

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Irby's second Blue Note release serves up eleven tasty, bluesy biscuits----all flavoured with generous helpings of gospel, R&B and funk. For the most part, Irby is accompanied by bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Clifford Barbaro and this trio packs one hell of a rhythmic wallop. The CD also features guitarist Ed Cherry on three tracks and special guests James Hurt (piano) and Roy Hargrove (trumpet) on the funky title cut. Sherman's nine original compositions range from a lithe tribute to Cannonball Adderley ("Conversing With Cannon") to the zigzag improvisation of "Call To Orde"r and "'Bama". Irby's duos with Cherry ("Lake Tuscaloosa") and Cannon ("Take The 'A' Train") show the big man has a sensitive side as well. The one track that does not make the grade is Irby's forced reading of Stevie Wonder's pop hit, "Too High". Otherwise, a fine sophomore effort. 3-4 stars

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