Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter vol. 1 no. 10
November 2005


I hope this letter finds you well. I appreciate your continued interest in reading this.Thank you for this, and for your support. I have enjoyed the e-mail correspondence, and appreciate when you come out "to the gig". If you are interested in instructional material, click on the link below (in Quick Links). Now about this month...

in this issue
  • Product in Focus
  • Jazz Performances
  • Church Sponsored and Christian Music Concerts
  • An Encounter with Cab

  • Jazz Performances

    In November, I am enjoying the increasing diversity that I am experiencing in this realm. Sullivan's continues (piano/bass duos). 0n Nov. 1,11,15,22,29 from 6-11pm and Nov. 6 from 6-10pm. I am with Felicia Carter at Sascha's in Baltimore on the 4th from 9-11pm, and Bryan Clark at the Garden Cafe at Dover Downs on the 5th (plus the Lobby Bar from 9-1am) and 19th from 5-8:40pm. Also 2 piano entertainment concerts: at the Phila. Protestant home on the 20th at 7pm and Forwood Manor (Wilm De) on the 30th at 7:30pm. How's that for variety?

    Church Sponsored and Christian Music Concerts

    On Oct. 30, I had the privilege of presenting a solo piano concert at the Quinton (NJ) Baptist Church. I am feeling more connected with the spiritual aspects of musically communicating (wherever I happen to be playing) all the time, as I did that evening. It was enjoyable for me (and hopefully uplifting to others). This month I participate in a jazz vespers service with Sue Matthews and my trio at the Chestertown Church of the Nazarene on Sunday the 13th at 5pm. The proceeds from the offering will benefit the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

    An Encounter with Cab

    We pick up our story with me being informed that my new music therapy contract (which came out of the blue, and for which I felt wholly unprepared) would involve Cab Calloway's (who was a resident at this facility, after having suffered a stroke) presence at the sessions. I gave much thought as to how I could prepare for this, and concluded that I really couldn't; I would just do what I do. About halfway through my inital session, Cab Calloway was wheeled in. Although he couldn't speak, it was obvious that he had not lost any mental sharpness, as I watched him study me (while I was playing). Before long, he sent his silent message, loud and clear: a big, wide tooth- filled smile! I recognized it's intent immediately, and was comforted. As a musician primarily playing music from eras before me, with (older) musicians who were there when it happened (I wasn't), I would often be looked on with suspicion, initially, form these more seasoned players, for whom I had to prove I was "one of them". I couldn't blame them for assuming that I was likely a product of my own (rock and roll) culture, therefore being unknowledgable, or at least, underdeveloped, regarding swinging and big band era music. Once I was "in" however, I was one of them, and welcomed into the club. Cab Calloway was not, as I see it, telling me neccesarily that I was any great player, but that I had passed the test ("Okay kid, you're in"). At that moment he also helped me understand that the same dymanic was at play with seniors in general, allowing me to understand better how preforming for them was such a natural "fit", and why I recieve such a welcome into their 'world" after first proving myself. I never saw Cab Calloway again; he passed away later that week (with, as the family and facility had purposed, the media not knowing his whereabouts while he was in nursing care). He left a lasting impression on me in that brief encounter in 1994. And the story isn't over...

    Product in Focus

    We are now at the point in this segment where I am featuring a product for the second time (see Feb. 2005). Now I get to write about this product again without being (too) repetitive or boring, so here's a little "inside story": At the time of this recording, the brothers and I have known each other, and have made music together (on and off) for 24 years. I was sitting in the band room of Triton regional High School, in Runnemede NJ in 1974, when in walks these two, pencil thin (you think they're skinny now?) identical twins. Neither had played music previously. One walks out with a clarinet, the other with a trumpet (you guess which), and within a month we were making music together. Not long thereafter, we had formed our first official group: "A Couple of Joes Trio" (Paul didn't like the name, but he was outvoted). Our "theme song" (A Couple of Joes) sprang out of (the multitude of our) rehearsal silliness. It was never taken too seriously (nor should it have been), and served (over the years) more than anything as a silly "quote" used to disrupt otherwise more serious music. At the AVALON recording session, I decided to push the idea of recording "A Couple of Joes", and, to my surprise, the "other Joe" went along (Paul didn't like the idea, but he was outvoted). The song is on the CD, sandwiched between " I'm Beginning to see the Light" and "Joe's Brother' (see, Paul wasn't left out). The inventory of this CD is low, and it is uncertain whether it will be continued once it runs out. Order your copy now, and enjoy the fun happy swing.

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