Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter Vol 2 No 9
September 2006


Here we go! This month is full and challenging, and I'm grateful for all of the opportunities I have been given (even if I complain sometimes). There are many "highlights" this month, including the release of Beth McDonald's new CD, "Only Forever". Now about this month...

in this issue
  • In Focus
  • Jazz Performances and Concerts
  • Church Sponsored Events
  • Radio News
  • Recording News
  • From the Weblog

  • Jazz Performances and Concerts

    Where do I start? There are 3 concerts of note this month:

    • Sat the 9th in concert at the Prince Theater in Chestertown - introducing Beth McDonald
    • Sat the 16th - Princeton Jazz Feast with the New Legacy Jazz Band
    • Sun the 24th - As "special guest" with the Midiri Brothers for the Tri-State Jazz Society
    In addition to these, there are an increasing number of performances with Bryan Clark, Sullivans continues, and more. Click and see...

    Church Sponsored Events

    "Back in the saddle again..." (no, don't expect me to play that one). I'm involved with concerts and performances at 3 different churches in September, all of which are outside of my local area. I'm especially looking forward to my trip to N. Ft. Myers, Fla. for a special ministry weekend where I'll be re-united (in ministry) with the Rev. Jonathan Mills. Maybe I'm coming near to where you live. If not, maybe soon...

    Radio News

    This month on the radio show begins with the release announcement and first featuring of "Only Forever" (see In Focus). Special "previews" (audio trailers) throughout the month will include artists Sue Matthews, Gaicomo Gates, and the Midiri Brothers Sextet (with myself on harpsichord). Also (hopefully) a preview of my new solo Christmas album! In the Phila., Pa area, catch "Joe Holt's Notes on the Radio" on Thursdays from 9-9:30pm on WNJC 1360am. Outside of the area, listen live online, or access the radio archive. Hope you like the show!

    Recording News

    This month marks the release of the Beth McDonald CD; "Only Forever". By the time a CD is released to the public, an artist has often "moved on", and is busy at work on subsequent projects. With me, at least, that rings true. There are fewer projects in the immediate pipeline (which is a good thing, because it means that many of them are now completed and available to you). By year's end you will see; a new Midiri Brother's sextet CD (with me on piano and harpsichord), and a new solo piano Christmas project. That's enough to keep me busy right now. Click on the link below to see what's currently "out there"

    From the Weblog

    Had a successful gig yesterday afternoon working behind (with the trio that I put together for) Giacomo Gates at the Chestertown Jazz Festival. I was exhilarated afterward, and I suspect that it showed in my gig with (playing solo piano behind) Bryan Clark that evening. This was a stylistic challenge for me. Giacomo represents a be-bop vocal approach (at which he is an ace) that for some jazz critics, would be considered "historic", as Giacomo pays homage to the legacy of Charlie parker, Miles Davis, Jon Hendricks... For me, however, it stretches the boundary of my (less than fully academic) approach to jazz (in other words, my "style" reaches back even further in time). In the be-bop and (especially) beyond world, the emphasis moves to a more specific harmonic "vocabulary": an analysis of the internal structure, that, to many a modern "purest" becomes the standard by which a jazz performance is judged. My own emphasis (not being one that organizes complex intellectual structure easily, but rather seeks to grasp the essence and meaning) is the connection with the soul of the audience (and I mean that in a genuine spiritual sense). This I judge my own performances by, and aspire to at every gig. I was confident going in that I had chosen the right guys to hire (Giacomo called me on a referral from Dick Durham to put together a band for him, so I called Alan Dale and Max Murray) to give him the hard swinging foundation for his largely be-bop repertoire, and Giacomo's response to us proved me correct. As for me, I felt that, after a shaky start, that I was able to land in the zone in which I could make my approach work in this not entirely familiar realm (I did not know a number of the tunes, that if I were a real be-bop guy, I would know in my sleep) and relied heavily on his charts. By the end of my day (after my evening gig) I felt comfortably spent, and grateful. posted by Joe Holt | Sunday, August 20, 2006

    In Focus

    This month I am pleased to announce the debut recording of singer/songwriter Beth McDonald - "Only Forever" - now available through Joe Holt's Notes. Over the past 2 years, Beth has been on a journey to realize her calling in music. "Only Forever" represents, I believe, one of the beginning (but very significant) steps on this road. A combination of Beth's original compositions, and beautifully delivered standards, this recording is truly captivating. Alan Dale, Tom Baldwin, and myself accompany Beth on the majority of the selections. I provide solo piano accompaniment on the remainder of the songs, including a haunting treatment (by Beth) of "What'll I Do?". In addition to the standards (which include "Blue Skies", "Glory of Love" and the title track: "Only Forever", among others), Beth has chosen from her original compositions songs of personal struggle and longing, love and deliverance (including "My Child", "It's Been a Year", "Until"). Beth is an extremely gifted musician, and this comes through both in her songwriting, and her vocal presentation. You'll want this unique recording in your collection.

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