Joe Holt's Notes
Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter
July, 2008
vol 4 no 7 
Welcome summer, but (for me, anyway), not many "lazy days". Don't think that, even back in college, still gigging and teaching full time, I've ever had this much going on. Not only a large number of gigs and projects, but a sense of depth and connection in the musical communication that continues to grow. In addition to a solid variety of local gigs, this month also offers some "change of scenery": 2 festivals (including Mammoth Lakes, Ca), and the beginning of rehearsals for the Sept. production at the Church Hill Theatre (see below). This, and a lot of "behind the scenes" stuff has me playing "catch up" with (seemingly) many things, including this newsletter - which is going out 10 days late (completing it now from my condo in Mammoth, from which I'll also attempt to blog the trip). Thanks for hanging in there with me. Now, for some of what's going on... 
Featured Performances
FRIDAY 7/11 - SUNDAY 7/13:
 Joe performs with the Midiri Brothers sextet and trio, and solo piano at the Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee, Ca.
This year the Mammoth festival celebrates it's 20th anniversary, (with emphasis on the celebrating)! One of (if not the) most eclectic of jazz festivals, it has broadened (over 20 years) from a strictly "trad" event, to feature a wide variety of styles and bands. If you've never been to beautiful Mammoth Lakes California (a bustling ski resort in the winter), here is your perfect excuse!
 FRIDAY 7/25 - SUNDAY 7/27:
Joe performs with the Midiri Brothers Septet and trio for the Connecticut Jazz Festival
The Connecticut festival was the first festival for the Midiri Band in 2002 (breaking the "swing barrier" in this otherwise traditional festival), however this is the only festival on which Joe has not appeared (since rejoining the band in 2006) - until now.
Joe performs with theMidiri Brothers sextet and trio at the Orange County (CA) Classic Jazz Festival
This popular festival features a variety of quality bands positioned throughout the Hilton in Costa Mesa Ca. Featuring a 4-man rhythm section (with Pat Mercuri on guitar), the Midiri band really swings!    
TUESDAY 9/23: 7pm
Solo piano entertainment concert - featuring jazz and popular standards, at the Philadelphia Protestant Home , 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 Joe's "venues", this program is an opportunity to enjoy a warm and friendly evening.   
THURSDAY thru SUNDAY, 10/16-19
Joe performs with the Midiri Brothers Sextet and Trio, and solo piano at the Sun Valley Jazz Festival, Sun Valley, Idaho.
The beautiful Sun Valley Resort hosts one of America's premier festivals. The Midiri Brothers Band performs along with top circuit groups and musicians - and the festival experisnce is one of a kind
 FRIDAY 11/14/08: 8pm
 Joe performs in concert,  "An Evening of Piano Improvisation" at the Prince Theatre, Chestertown, Md
Joe returns to the Prince 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. Of Joe's solo piano performances; reviewers, musical colleagues, and fans agree: "Joe is fun to listen to. He's even more fun to watch." "Joe Holt is Mr. Happy. The joy when he plays is boundless and infectious" "Joe touches lives wherever he goes" "When you listen to Joe, listen with your heart" Come, and share in the experience.  
 TUESDAY 12/2: 2pm
Joe presents "The Night Before Christmas", at the Downs Cultural Center, Wilmington, De
Joe returns to the Downs Center for a fun solo piano performance built around the famous poem by Clement Clarke Moore. Downs center performances are open to the public, with no admission charge. Reservations are requested. (302)-575-0250 x2244
 see the full schedule

Other Opportunities 
Will be enjoying the busier schedule with Holly Lane, and Shore Jazz over the summer. We are the "official" band for jazz nights (Saturdays) at Crabber's Cove, in Dewey beach, De. Because of juggling other committments, there will be other musicians filling in, at times, throughout our run. For me, I'll make one night this month (5th), but next month, it's all but one. Also performances at the Globe, in Berlin. Md, and an outdoor concert in Ocean City.
From the Comment Box
"This man gets so much music out of a piano. Joe's the best" 

"I've been a musician most of my life and I can tell ya that this guy Joe Holt plays the piano the way most could only dream of doing. I give him all 5 stars and then some. Well done."

"No doubt about it... Joe is AWESOME!"

"Amazing Joe. Once again, you've managed to blow my mind! I stand in awe. You have such incredible control over what you do - your interaction with the music and the instrument. Thanks for posting this and inspiring me :)"
"Oh my! I feel like a found a gold mine when I found you on You Tube! I am already #1 fan! Way to go fella! You have made my day!!!"
                         July features:
 Featured YouTube video -
Featured YouTube video playlist -
Influences - Erroll Garner
 now 6 selections from 2 upcoming CDs.
Stay tuned for more info on release dates for new recordings.
Joe Holt's Notes on the Radio is now available by "subscription". Receive the show each week on a CD, and listen anytime, and anywhere! Email or call 877-JOE-HOLT for info and to order. 
-We're now working on the placement of the Christmas CDs in (year round) Christmas shops. Contact us if there is one in your area we missed. 
-I have accepted the position of musical director for the production "Once on This Island"; to be performed at the Church Hill Theatre from Sept 19 to Oct 5. Auditions are scheduled for 7/19-21, and rehearsals begin later this month.
From the Journal
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Just finished practicing. Feels so good (says Chuck Mangione). This is the time, though (to channel Robert Schuller, and) to gaze at the glass as half full. Here I am, at 48, feeling like I'm just getting started (the last 46 years of playing, starting on toy pianos, notwithstanding): new places, deepened and sustained connections, heightened discipline, validation and confidence. Deep inside, I knew this place existed, even if I couldn't get past, or often see beyond, the barriers. Perhaps I say (things like) this ad nausuem, but I feel (almost, sort of) like a kid, with everything in front of me. Okay, that sounds good - I'm remembering now from Paul: "forgetting what lies behind, forward..." That's the answer to the half empty sense of all this, that can eagerly advance like a dark cloud dimming the view and challenging optimism. As soon as I start thinking anything like: "why am I just getting my act together now?" (whatever that means), it's probably time to pick up one of my Schuller books. Better yet, it's time to remember how I got here - by learning how to begin to rest in God, moving beyond total self focus. This same path will continue to take me to new places of blessing, repentance, and rejoicing. God is good.
Lessons For the Thoughtful Pianist
"Hum a few bars, and I'll fake it". We've all heard the line. The pianist/musician listens to the melody of a song, then plays it - not just the melody, but an accompaniment as well! But, where did all of those other notes come from? How did (s)he know how to do that? Is this the mystical gift, given to the "chosen few"? Or, is this a common approach to making music? Unless this is your first exposure to what I have to say, you likely know the answer. The art of "faking it" is simply a legitimate (to some, alternative) method of making music - some will call it "playing by ear". To whatever extent you can go here, there is an underlying thought process that guides you through. The thoughts may be unschooled, and disorganized, but there nonetheless. Music making, like speech or other communication, doesn't happen in a vacuum. When a musician is playing a new song, or recalling an old one, there is information, in some form, that fuels the process. Much of this information can be found in a "fake book" - a book for those who "fake it".

 A fake book is a collection of "lead sheets". These give you the "raw material" for a song, rather than an exact, detailed description of what to play. This is analogous to a public speaker who uses note cards, or speaks from a rough outline. The "trick" is, of course, knowing where to go with the outline. In the case of the fake book, even the most basic knowledge about it's contents is sufficient to make music, but what is essential is the proper attitude toward this approach. Rather then seeing the printed music as "the sole authority for faith and practice", you should see the lead sheet/fake book as providing possibilities and opportunities for musical expression...

Quick Links
Joe Holt's Notes Records

Joe Holt's Notes Merchandise 

See the complete collection
Join Our Mailing List