|James soloed on "Brown Wore Black" at the Beacon Hill concert, June 16, 2012.|
James played a solo on "She Works Hard for the Money" at the 2002 Carleton Mid-Winter Ball.
James first performed with the Roseville Big Band at the 2002 Carleton College Mid-Winter Ball. He has also subbed for Carl Berger in a combo led by Mike Bratlie.
An avid composer, James wrote an 11-part composition for trombone choir, "S is for Spiv", that received its premier performance by the Minneapolis Trombone Choir at its February 24, 2002, concert. On the February 23, 2003, concert, the trombone choir premiered James' "Where'd that Thango? (a tango)". The trombone choir premiered his "Get Me the Yes Men!", with parts (some divisi) for alto trombone, 3 tenor trombones, and 2 bass trombones, plus a group of drones and a Middle Eastern rhythm section, at its February 29, 2004, concert. On the February 27, 2005, concert, the trombone choir premiered James' "Hotbed of Cold Shoulder."
If you attended performances at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, in the 1980's you might have heard some of his other compositions, which formed the musical background for choreographed dance presentations at the school.
James is a member of Mandragora, a five-piece tango band that plays at the Loring Pasta Bar on Sunday nights.
James was a member of Head Octet, a rock trio that played around the Twin Cities in the late 1980's and occasionally in the 90's. In the mid-90's, James was the guitarist for the Dextet, a Twin Cities horn band. He also plays guitar for weddings and receptions, including performing with a trio or five-piece group.
You might also have heard James performing on bouzouki with a Greek band at the Festival of Nations and other venues in the Twin Cities.
One of his most recent musical endeavors is the formation of the James Holdman Small Band. James is the leader, arranger, and E-flat alto horn player for this ensemble, which is comprised of seven instrumentalists playing trumpet, alto horn, woodwinds, tuba, accordion, bass, and drums. The group sometimes performs with a guest vocalist, as on their debut concert Wednesday, August 28, 2002, at the Minnehaha Falls band shell.