Jim Holton: No Green Bananas (2008)
Listening to Jim Holton's CD No Green Bananas, there is a sense that he is not only a good musician, but a good person. This is a very personal CD for Holton, who dedicates the work to God and seems to include all of the people in his life that have paved the way for him to be where he is today. He includes a vintage track from his grandfather's band, pianist Dameon Holton, as well as a lovely prayer from his pastor. He includes songs inspired by his mother, ex-wife, and present love. And he plays with his friends who have helped him throughout his life. Luckily, he has very talented friends from the Philadelphia jazz scene, including famed bassist Tyrone Brown.
Because it is a retrospective album, it includes the various styles of jazz that Holton is quite capable of playing including blues, smooth, funk, and trio. Holton is also an accomplished cellist and includes several tunes that highlight his fine string playing. "Katy" opens with a beautiful cello solo that leads into a free-spirited combination of piano, sax, cello, and bass with an upbeat feel that also features saxophonist Jon Thompson, who shines on this number. "Beautiful Love" features Cindy LeBlanc's excellent playing on a tune Holton wrote for the flautist. "Song For My Mother" is a fine piano solo that undoubtedly convinced Mrs. Holton that the piano lessons paid off.
The closing "Her Majesties Danze" is a short but beautiful cello/bass/drum trio that Holton co-wrote with Brown and, with the inclusion of the late drummer Pete Vinson, shows off the talents of all three musicians.
Holton has backed many Philadelphia musicians and is well-known in the city's jazz community. No Green Bananas is his first release dedicated to original material and, consequently, may be difficult to define stylistically but, without a doubt, clearly demonstrates Holton's multifaceted talent.
Track Listing: Blues; Damon Holton Introduction; My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice; Blues for Royal; Katy; Beautiful Voice; One for Sir Price; Prayer; Prayer for Healing; Wright is Wright; Song for My Mother; No Green Bananas; Blues; Her Majesties Danze.
Personnel: Jim Holton: piano, Korg Triton, cello; Mike Boone: acoustic and electric bass (1, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14 ); Brian Landham: drums (1, 7, 14); Jimmy Coleman: drums (4, 5, 10, 11, 13); Les Williams: Clarinet (3); George Adamson: trumpet (3); Paul Shively: alto sax (3); Chick Ciccarone: drums (3); Eddie Jones: bass (3); Damon Holton: piano (3); Tyrone Brown: bass (8, 9, 15); Cindy LeBlanc: flute (6, 9); Jon Thompson: tenor sax (4, 11, 13); Millard "Pete" Vinson: drums (15); Ron Jennings: guitar (4); Rich Posmontier: percussion (4, 8, 9); Marlon Simon: percussion (5, 8, 11, 13); Joe McDonough: trombone (11, 13).