Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter Vol 3 No 3
March 2007


Hope this letter finds you well. Spring is almost here, and my business is coming out of hibernation (it never stops - this is certainly true for me - but February is often a slow month for musicians). Over the next few months, I will enjoy a diverse array of performances largely in my local area. Later in the year, the travelling intensifies. Now, about this month...

in this issue
  • Featured on the Radio Show.
  • Jazz Performances and Concerts
  • Church Sponsored Concerts
  • Radio News
  • Recording News
  • From the Journal

  • Jazz Performances and Concerts

    This, apparently, is "diversity in Delmarva" month. Among other engagements in March, I will be with Bryan Clark at Dover Downs, in Dover, De; with bassist Dave Ross for Sunday brunches at the Tidewater Inn in Easton (Md); with 2 different bass players at Sullivan's (not at the same time) and performing in a solo concert at Heron Point in Chestertown, Md. Check out the schedule to learn more.

    Church Sponsored Concerts

    One more dark month (this one), then things begin to gear up. There are currently 2 concerts on the schedule for later this year: in Marlton,NJ in April, and Upper Marlboro, MD in August. Others are pending. Keep in touch with the schedule by clicking on the link below.

    Radio News

    It appears that we've "worked out the bugs" (not bad really), and are now off and running on station #2 (and what, Monty, is behind curtain #3?). WKDI, located in Denton, MD, covers a surprisingly wide area for a lower wattage, daytime-only station. Click here to view a coverage map. My experience confirms the validity of the first two boundaries. The last one is hit and miss. The "daytime-only" component of the station affords me an advantage. As the days lengthen, (selected) programs can gain a second slot. Until early November, my show receives an additional play, on Saturdays at 5pm (in addition to the "official" airtime of Sunday at 2). If you live anywhere in the coverage area (or know someone who does), check it out. And don't forget WNJC!

    Recording News

    It's nice not to be rushed, hassled or harried here (at least for now), As always, I continue to carry around far more ideas that are any way practical. of course, how often does that ever stop me? Several projects have been started, but nothing is too far down the pipeline, yet. If all goes well, this year should see the release of 2, or possibly 3 CDs. I'll keep you posted.

    From the Journal

    Looking back at the entry for Feb. 3, I am reminded about the remainder of that evening. We had a set at 9:30pm, and another one at 11:30pm. The earlier set was in the big hall, with the nice grand piano (all the others were not so nice, but they were pianos). At one point in that set, Joe Midiri announced that he and I were going to play a duo version of "Stardust". That's fine, conceptually, however I knew that he was playing this in reference to a cut on their latest CD, where he plays the tune as a duet with his guitarist; Pat Mercuri (who wasn't on this trip). I did it once before with Joe, and he presented me with Pat's lead sheet. That was helpful, because Pat (and almost everyone else) plays this tune with different changes that I do (it's that "solo piano bubble" thing), and I'm just not good at keeping straight (in my head) how other people do things ("Tenderly" is another one, where I prefer my changes, and can never keep straight how most everyone else plays it). So, when I discovered that we didn't have Pat's lead sheet, I panicked. I don't usually play this in D flat (though I probably should), but I can get by with that. The real issue, to me, was that I know that Joe likes to hear the changes he wants, and I was going to have a hard time trying to go where I wasn't sure. This was all happening quickly, so, while in the tune, I waved off him sharing the first (Db) chorus with me, since I was feeling insecure, determining to wait for the next go around in F. I don't like to curve ball people on stage, but I did, and he just kept playing (and I kept accompanying). All this was adding to my own sense of being pseudo-overwhelmed on the edge while we were playing. The point of recounting all of this is to note that all of that "nervous creativity", rather than pulling me away from the "spiritual" place of music making (where I must escape any inward focus) apparently drove me deeper into it. I say that primarily because of the response of all the other guys to me (and my solo) as they came back on stage. Paul Midiri later told me that, as the four of them were sitting at the table listening, at one point, and all together, they "gasped". Hmmm. It seems weird to write this, and again I do so to document my own discoveries, and attempts at growth. Just goes to show, perhaps, in general terms, that God is always there, and accessible, no matter what. A few days ago, I was riding in the car with my 10 year old son; Robbie. He initiated a discussion about the wind, and after a few minutes he said: "You can't see the wind. You can always see the wind". Amen, Robbie. And so it is with God. posted by Joe Holt at Sunday, February 18, 2007

    Featured on the Radio Show.

    The CD that started it all, or, at least, my record label. Over the years, perhaps the biggest challenge for me in recording has been to locate a suitable piano in a suitable recording studio. When I recorded this CD several years ago, the search was continuing, however, a one-time temporary solution allowed me to produce this product. At the time, I was attending the Heritage Presbyterian Church, in New Castle, De and arranged with my friend Chris Webb (Sound Waves studio, later; the Popcorn Factory) to produce a “remote” recording (the Church sanctuary became the recording studio). It was during these sessions that the “golden rule” of recording Joe Holt was established: while recording, I must remove my shoes. If you know me, you know that I often can’t sit still when playing/performing (and as the years roll on, it only gets “worse”). Part of the problem in these sessions was that the front platform of the church sanctuary (on which the piano was perched) was elevated, and hollow underneath. One good pounding of the foot (involuntary, of course), even on carpet, created a “gunshot”. In an otherwise good take of “Awesome God” one thunder clap (prior to the enforcement of the ‘rule”) threatened to “short circuit” the performance. Chris persisted (for a long while) applying engineering magic - doing everything he possibly could, the result being a slightly muffled thunder clap (at 1:47 in - I kept the take). Just so you know, I only enforce the rule at recording sessions; I keep my shoes on while in concert (although a similar lack of control persuades me to avoid wearing lapel microphones). Check out this recording by clicking on the link below.

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