Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 3
March 2006


Thank you for continuing to receive this newsletter - or - Welcome! (select the appropriate greeting, choose only one - oh, all right, take them both if you want). I'm delighted to share my (continuing) adventures with you, and especially so that you're willing to listen (read). Don't neglect to surf through the website improvements. Now, about this month...

in this issue
  • In Focus
  • Jazz Performances and Piano Entertainment Concerts
  • Church Sponsored and Christian Music Concerts
  • Radio News
  • From the Weblog

  • Jazz Performances and Piano Entertainment Concerts

    For those of you who follow the schedule and come out to the "gigs", thank you. My friends David and Phyllis faithfully come to "commune" with Bruce and I on Tuesday nights. I look forward to that, as I would look forward to seeing you sometime. Each month brings a variety of events, two I will highlight: first - anything with Bryan Clark (we're "back in business" at Dover Downs, not only this month, but in months to come. In the coming weeks, I will extend the performance schedule beyond the current month so you can look, and plan ahead). Also, my first solo concert at the Mainstay in Rock Hall, Md. on Sat. 3/18 at 8pm. Click on the Mainstay Concerts link (in the "Quick Links" section below). You might smile at their publicity on this. I'm hopeful for a good showing (turnout) for that concert, so as to get off on the "right foot" with this new (for me) venue. It is a ticketed concert, and reservations are always recommended there (it is a charming and intimate venue, and often sells out in advance). I'm back there in April for their Dixieland festival, so stay tuned...

    Church Sponsored and Christian Music Concerts

    February's event was a "He's Steppin' Out" with Brian Whitaker. I am continually impressed how good he is at this. Church sponsored concerts are "dark" this month, and resume in April with both morning worship services of the Hagerstown (Md) Church of the Nazarene on April 8th. Stay tuned to upcoming website schedule updates for events down the road, including trips to Florida and South Carolina.

    Radio News

    I'm having fun with this. It hasn't been without it's challenges, and glitches (like this past Thursday when the radio station failed to receive - or lost - the show, and rebroadcast the previous week's program), nonetheless, I'm pleased overall. The archive is growing, and Max is innovative (as always) in handling the growing library. There are three ways to hear the show: 1 - Tune your radio to 1360AM on Thursday evenings from 9-9 :30 pm (in the Southern New Jersey/Philadelphia area). 2 - Listen to the WNJC live Internet stream at that same time. A link is provided on the front page of my website. 3 - Visit the radio archive/vault on my website (click on the microphone) for convenient access to all shows previously aired (new shows will usually be posted within 24hrs of airing). I welcome your feedback. Hope you enjoy the show.

    From the Weblog

    On Friday, I had a (solo) recording session that I feel good about. This is uncharacteristic of my recording history, but likely (I'm being optimistic) the direction I am moving. When I am finding (even if for brief periods) my "zone" (something I have been self- consciously working on for some time), even in the studio, I can't be but pleased. Of course, it could be better, but this is where I'm learning. I'm understanding now that my goal, as a performer, has been the sustained depth - or - to play at a consistent level. Of course, I know (even if I don't accept it) that this isn't me. I've often told people that I feel a certain kinship with Mike Schmidt (home run leader and gold glove third baseman for the Phillies in the 1980's). He could hit multiple home runs one day and then go 0 for 20, or could make a phenomenal fielding play one inning, then in the next field a routine ground ball, but fail to throw out the runner at first because he "threw" the ball behind his back (I saw this happen while at a ball game)! Not that I really feel that I hit (or play) multiple home runs, or make phenomenal fielding plays, but rather that I am prone to inconsistency. I understand some of the reason for it (and I also know that some of what I am aware of, others are less so), but I'd never accepted it. Listening to my session later, at home; hearing me find the depth, have a "brain fart", and then attempt a recovery, I finally got it : This is me, and it's okay (as a concept). I can continue to improve, and lessen the occurrence - which is happening - of the "perpetual fog" (my Friend Alan Dale calls it "being constipated"), which is a problem. When I am "fog-free", however, and still have that little spot or two in a tune where my attention span breaks, or I am playing disjointed (even if only I am aware of it), I can stop being ashamed of myself; trying to create an ideal rather than accept what is. Dick Durham (local jazz pianist who has become a friend) uses a quote in his publicity written of him in the Phila. Inquirer in 1965(!): "Dick Durham creates a jazz that is". Now I understand: more than anything, my goal is to be authentic - something that is. Posted by Joe Holt | Sunday, November 20, 2005 (reflections during the recording of "Playing By Heart")

    In Focus

    It's finally here! Really! In hand! Okay, I think you get it (I picked up the CDs at the manufacturer on Feb 22). Thank you to all who pre-release ordered "Playing By Heart - Always", and not only for your order, but also for your patience (if you ordered this CD pre-release and have yet to receive it, please advise me) . It's a funny thing (or perhaps a silly thing) that, for all the recording I've done, I've had no CD that represents the bulk of what I do (solo jazz piano), until now. One challenge has always been to find a workable recording studio situation where a good piano is available (when I recorded "Hymn and Christian Song Improvisations"; my other solo piano CD, my friend Chris Webb brought his recording equipment to the church I attended at the time, and we recorded in the sanctuary). This is always important, but never more so (for me) when recording solo. It is repeatedly shown to me that when it is the right time for the provision, it comes. Some months ago, facilitated by Sue Matthews, I made the acquaintance of Dick Durham. Dick is a long established and respected jazz pianist, living in the next town from me. He has recorded several albums in his home studio, and was willing to accommodate me (not his usual practice) at my request to use his facility and services. He would "fire up" the equipment then exit the room, leaving me on my own, but he was always listening. We would stop every few takes for him to "touch up" the piano tuning, and give me feedback (unsolicited, but welcome). I will remain grateful to Dick for his assistance and support (at multiple levels), and all will enjoy the sound of his fine piano. Many have been patient in waiting for this project. I, certainly, have been the most impatient. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life"

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