Joe Holt's Notes
Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter
December 2008
Vol 4 No 11 
                      Merry Christmas!
 "Christmas time is here...Time that all the children call their favorite time of year." I guess I'm still a child, then (now, be nice...). Not much public performing (though oodles of private and corporate gigging) this month. The new emphasis on solo performance and improvisational concerts continues to shape future gigging, which will be evident as time goes on. In November, the Prince Theatre concert began this journey, with strong connections, and a lingering "buzz". Next month, the Church Hill Theatre will provide the next opportunity, and, of course, I'll keep you posted about what comes next. Here's the current "scoop"...
From the Concert Schedule...
TUESDAY 1/6/09: 7pm
Solo piano entertainment concert - featuring jazz and popular standards, at the Philadelphia Protestant Home chapel, Philadelphia, Pa. For info (215)697-8564
Joe has performed in concert for the Phila. Protestant Home retirement residents and surrounding community every other month since 1994 (over 80 performances)! This event is like one big family, where Joe shares personal and family stories, and presents a solo piano concert. Unique among his "venues", this program is an opportunity to enjoy a warm and friendly evening
FRIDAY 1/30: 8pm
Joe performs in concert - "An Evening of Piano Improvisation" at the Church Hill Theatre, Church Hill, Md (410) 758-1331
Joe returns to the Church Hill Theatre, this time with the stage to himself.
An evening of solo piano; from classical themes to popular standards to contemporary melodies (and a surprise or two) - all improvised.
From a recent review:
"The piano man is back. Nobody - and I mean nobody - plays the 88 keys with more fervor than Joe Holt. Leading scientists from around the world concur that it is physically impossible to display any more pleasure than Joe does when he performs. It's borderline selfish, because, as amazing as it is to hear him, he still looks like he's having more fun than anyone else in the room...His animated gestures and facial expressions really serve to capture an audience. It's less like you're sitting in a concert hall, and more intimate, like you've snuck into his living room and are hiding behind the curtain as he plays all by himself."

Other Opportunities
SATURDAY 12/6: 7-10pm
Joe performs with Holly Lane and Shore Jazz at the Globe, Berlin. Md
Continuing as the "regular guy" for this group, Joe hones his ADD (or, multiple personality disorder) by performing on the keyboard with left-hand bass. Check it out at the fine venue, if you're nearby.

WEDNESDAY 12/31: 9pm-1am 
Joe performs with bassist Dave Ross for New Year's Eve at The Inn at 202 Dover, Easton, MD
Dave and Joe return to Easton's world class restaruant and B&B to provide a supper club atmosphere for the luxurious New Year's Eve package. Check in with the Inn for details as they come available. 

SATURDAY 1/3/09:7-10pm
Joe performs with Holly Lane and Shore Jazz at the Globe, Berlin Md
Holly Lane is a true jazz singer, and ecclectic performer. Together with Shore Jazz, she takes the Globe stage.

From the Comment Box
I have always appreciated your passion for music and watching you perform allows me to for the moment to be taken to the place where God exists. Thanks Joe, your music and love for it is transparent. That is refreshing.
STUNNING performance ! I was waiting for some smoke to come out of that piano ! Simply outstanding!

Absolutely brilliant!!! Your improv only adds to the beauty of an already gorgeous song
Beautiful Joe, beautiful. Gave me chills...
I've just viewed "Always" for the upteenth time, and continue to feel that Joe's rendition of this beautiful song just can't be beat by anyone.......anywhere......any time!
Thank you Joe, for sharing your incredible gift with us!!
Lovin it Joe, lovin it. You make an out of tune piano sing! *****

For December:
YouTube featured video - "Christmas Time is Here - radio for 12/7/08
YouTube featured Playlist - "An Evening of Piano Improvisation - Prince Theatre 11/14/08"
 Joe Holt's Notes on the Radio" continues on 840am WKDI, Denton, MD Sundays @ 2pm. Learn more and listen now
Stay tuned - an announcement on a new CD is coming soon
Due to budgetary changes, Newark First Church of the Nazarene has cancelled Jazz Vespers for 2009. All are hopeful that Jazz Vespers will resume again in 2010.
Joe will be suspending his GodTube channel. All hymn and Christian song postings will occur on Joe's current year YouTube channel, as before.  
The Prince Theatre concert of 11/14 was a successful entry into solo improvisational performance. Plan to catch Joe's next theatre performance at the Church Hill (MD) Theatre on 1/30/09, if you can.   
From the Journal
Posted Monday 11/10/08
Coming Friday.... Suffice to say, I'm really looking forward to this. In many respects, this is symbolic (at least) to me of a new starting point, and somewhat of a redefinition of my public performances. Depending how you define jazz, sure, I play it - but now I am wholly persuaded that is the wrong description of what I (at least intend to) project. Perhaps the real problem in jazz, especially among many practitioners, are the agendas. This style, that approach, this era, that statement. I had a wonderful gig Saturday night subbing at a private club with two great Phila area musicians, neither of whom I knew or knew me. What we all appreciated about the gig was the shared creativity, enjoying what each other had to "say", and stretching on the lesser trod paths. Improvisation is now my term of choice (at least for my solo performances): no agendas, no pretense, just a connection - beyond me, and beyond my limitations.

On Playing the Piano...
Did you ever wonder why the black keys are grouped in alternating 2's and 3's on the piano keyboard? Did you ever wonder how someone can play effortlessly without looking at their hands? Stop your wondering now and connect the dots. In addition to the keys being a uniform distance from each other (which you hand easily '"remembers"), the black key groupings identify the white keys - kind of like a Braille system. You can easily find a key without a direct reference to it's "label". NEVER label the keys on a piano. In addition to making a mess, it engages your mind away from the music you are making. Kind of like giving a speech, but having to stop to spell every word. If you are new to playing the piano/keyboard, allow yourself the time to become comfortable "feeling your way around". Don't look (down), concentrate on listening instead. You'll cross this hurdle quickly, provided you don't create new ones.

Want to hear and read more?
Listen - to Joe Holt's Notes on the Radio. Each week, Joe devotes a portion of the program to sharing his thoughts on making music.

Read - Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist. 24 Instructional articles to point you on your way.

Have a musical topic on which you would like Joe to comment? E-mail Joe now. 

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Have a wonderful Christmas!
Blessings and awareness,