Music: Big Mama's Biscuits

Sherman Irby

Here's the pedigree: this 30-year-old alto saxophonist is an ex-member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and a former regular at Small's, the dingy Manhattan club that has become a key incubator of young talent. His playing is plenty soulful on his second CD--so you'd think, given the title--but with a dry, sometimes acerbic tone that gives the album a haunting edge; listeners may be reminded of John Coltrane's way with a ballad or the blues. As a composer, Irby has a gift for melody, and there are so many fine touches on this disc that it's hard to believe nearly...

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