Joe Holt's Notes
Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter
Newsletter Subtitle
Month Year
It's already happening. The days (and especially nights) are becoming more comfortable. Autumn - my favorite time of year - is now only a few weeks away. In contrast to the current climate, however; this point in my career feels nothing like Autumn (when things slow down, in  preparation for the resting of Winter). It is instead, I believe, a time of transition (and not toward a place of slowing down). Some things that are happening now will (likely) grow in scope later - some other things will end. New opportunities are showing themselves for the future. It's all cool. I hope that you, also, can feel a sense of purpose, and the hand of God in your comings and goings. Now, about this month.... 
Featured Performances
THURSDAY 9/6: 7pm
Solo piano concert - featuring jazz and popular standards, at the Philadelphia Protestant Home , Philadelphia, Pa for info (215)697-8564
I have performed in concert for the Phila. Protestant Home retirement residents and surrounding community every other month since 1994 (75 performances)! This event is like one big family, where I share personal and family stories, and present a solo piano concert. Unique among my "venues", this program is an opportunity to enjoy a warm and friendly evening.
FRIDAY 10/26 - SUNDAY 10/28:
Joe performs with the Midiri Brothers Sextet and Trio at the Jubilee By the Sea, Pismo Beach, Ca.
Pismo is a unique little beach town, and a neat setting for a festival. Makes for a pleasant, swinging weekend.
THURSDAY 11/1: 2pm
Solo piano concert - featuring jazz and popular standards, at the Downs Cultural Center, Wilmington, De.
The Downs Center serves the northern Delaware region, providing arts and cultural programming geared largely to senior citizens. I perform in the theater every six months or so, and it's always a joy. All (not just seniors) are welcome, of course, and admission is free! 
Other Opportunities
This month I stay close to home, and offer many possibilities in my local area. As the months go on, this will become the exception rather than the rule, as travelling opportunities (and some really cool ones, at that. Too early to announce yet, but look for me to be pushing out into new areas, especially in latter '08) expand. If you are anywhere near the Delmarva region this month, there are several public performances with both Bryan Clark (catch me with him while you can), and Holly Lane/Shore Jazz. Also I have been invited again (for the third consecutive year) to perform at the Ministry Fair of the St. Marks United Methodist Church in Easton, MD. And not to leave you "northerners" out, I'll also appear with cornetist Dan Tobias in Princeton, NJ. Check the schedule both for more details on these events, and to catch the future gigs and concerts as they are posted.
Lots going on here. If you haven't been checking in on my youtube page, then you have some catching up to do! There are now 32 videos available for public view, with the "view count" at (as of this writing) over 3,700, and accelerating! One suggestion when checking out the videos: rather than choosing one at a time; click on "playlists" on the main page. You'll then be able to start by choosing from the growing collections of videos organized by category. While you're on-line; check out the radio show. A format change starting later this month centers the show around the theme of me "playing the piano for you". And to provide more opportunity to play for you, look for podcasting to begin later this month also.
Finally, this month gets me back in the recording studio to begin the next Midiri Brothers CD project, and for final mastering of the new Christmas CD: "Do You See What I See", scheduled for release in November. Stay tuned!
From the Journal
Upon reflection:

"There is a reason that the youtube posting has only begun now, and with (almost exclusively) video starting in January of this year. and it is because now, I am ready. There has always been this connection/depth/substance/uniqueness, in my playing, almost since the beginning. I have followed a unique and God-directed path here. Even over 20 years ago (while dating) my wife (who has little use for jazz, and "modern" playing) would tell me how I am unique from others, because "the piano is an extension of my arm", and I pour myself in. The problem is that I have struggled throughout to gain access to this "place", and very often would find myself tied up in knots on stage, and seldom reaching any level that I occasionally would, and knew was there; as did anyone who played/worked with me. One bandleader found this glaring inconsistency with me very frustrating, and called it my "constipation". The reason I feel as I do now about myself, and the potential I have for uplifting others on a larger scale, is because of the "healing" I have experienced from this "bondage" - starting (but not really) in June of last year. With this healing, I can take a video camera to any gig, and be confident that some worthwhile playing will be filmed. With this healing, I can go into the recording studio knowing that I can record (essentially) an entire album (in this case "Do You Hear What I Hear" - the first "post-enlightenment" studio recording") in one session. With this healing, I can have an "off day" and have nothing to be embarrassed about. This is so radically different from before that it cannot be overstated: especially in recordings, where I couldn't connect to save my life. Many things have come together to allow for the "epiphany", that essentially was this realization: When reaching within myself to get "it", I was reaching in the wrong direction, and, for the most part, making matters worse. It is in escaping myself, and self-bondage, and making the "spiritual" - almost (and I truly liken it to this) out-of-body connection, that I am released from self focus, and free to connect with the God-given gift and potential; as God is now much more "part of the process", am I am learning how to "get out of the way". I have likened this to an "artistic born-again experience". "
That kind of sums it up.
Joe Holt's Notes Records
The Other Brother
This month, we highlight my recent (2006) "reunion" recording with the Midiri Brothers. Now that I have officially joined the Midiri Brothers Sextet on the jazz festival circuit, the original trio ("A Couple of Joes") is now also featured. When Joe (Midiri) announces the trio - in order to introduce me to the audience; he tells the story of our meeting and learning together in high school (and that's true). He ends with saying that he and Paul feel that I am, "musically and spiritually The Other Brother" (insert warm fuzzies here). For the record: As this is my recording (although a collaboration, it was  released on my label), I wrote the liner notes, and selected the title. When I proposed "The Other Brother" to Joe (Midiri), he responded: "That's fine, but you'll have to adopt me"  :) . However we got here, the name is sticking. At a recent festival, in the hotel at breakfast, I could overhear the next table talking (about me): "Look there, he's the other brother!". As I have been well received by the Midiri Brother's audience, so has this recording. The original trio (clarinet,piano,drums) is featured along with a new sax, organ, drums instrumentation. It's a fun recording. Take a look. Click here to order.
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(photo by Elizabeth Midiri, taken at Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee, July, '07)

Thanks again for your continued interest in what I do. In future newsletters, look for:

  • more on the weekend (3 performances) holiday event at the Prince Theatre (Chestertown, Md): "Do You Hear What I Hear"   
  • the announcement of Joe's new Christmas CD sequel: "Do You See What I See"
  • A jazz vespers series at the First Church of the Nazarene (Newark, De), beginning in January, '08         
Stay tuned!
Looking forward,     Joe