Re: Zone 9a/9b (Inland SoCal) Cultivar Suggestions
Here in Phoenix some of our top picks are Dwarf Namwah and Rajapuri. Lots of Ice Cream bananas here they just need propping to fruit.
We have a similar climate if not a little colder even, and I know of Goldfinger, 1000 fingers, tall Namwah, Manzano, Dwarf Brazillian, Texas Star (may or may not be Orinoco), Orinoco, & dwarf Orinoco fruiting. And I'm sure there are many more.
The cold sensitive ones include the reds, and I avoid those. You are right that short fat trunks are helpful.