Jim Holman: Explosion!

Chicagoan Jim Holman flaunts prodigious chops and a seasoned approach to piano that belies his 23 years on his impressive debut as a leader. With the loosely swinging rhythm section of bassist Brian Sandstrom and drummer Rusty Jones, he turns in stellar trio versions of Joe Henderson’s “Recorda Me” and John Coltrane’s “Lazy Bird.” Tenor saxophonist Frank Catalano joins for swinging renditions of “Over the Rainbow” and “Bye Bye Blackbird,” the latter showcasing Jones’ hip brushwork. They also wail on two Catalano originals, the extroverted title track and the funky “Shakin’.” Alto sax burner Richie Cole guests on a unique interpretation of Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser” highlighted by drummer Rick Shandling’s shuffling second-line groove, and on a surging romp through Trane’s “Moment’s Notice.” Holman also pays tribute to two important influences on his lone original “Bill” (for Bill Evans) and on a trio deconstruction of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island.”