Altoist Sherman Irby spent an important period as a sideman with the Roy Hargrove Quintet. On Black Warrior he utilizes two members of that group (bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Willie Jones III) along with pianist Eric Reed to create a diverse but consistently rewarding CD. Along the way are tributes to the late John Hicks ("Yemonja"), Stanley Turrentine ("Blues for Stanley T," a stirring minor blues) and Ornette Coleman ("Ornate" which features the group sounding like the early Ornette Coleman Quartet), a romp on the chord changes of "Impressions" (retitled "Lost Prophets") and the joyful "Brother," plus four other worthy pieces. The quartet is very solid with Irby taking one passionate solo after another, Reed in top form, and stimulating support offered by Cannon and Jones. The result is a well-conceived and easily enjoyable modern hard bop/post-bop set that features Sherman Irby at his best.
Black Warrior Records