Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter
January, 2011 
Vol 7, No 1

                                 Happiness and newness

Every new year provides an opportunity for reflection and resolve. Actually, that's me, much of the time: thinking, pondering, repositioning, considering, reconsidering ... With each year, though, perhaps just a little more sence of urgency, or desire, or expectation. Still can't shake the conviction that I'm called to continue to travel this on path, and that's a good thing. May we all travel into 2011 with a sense of positive purpose. Okay, here goes ... 

Joe's Appearances

SUNDAY 1/23/11: 6pm

 Joe performs in concert at the Grace Church of the Nazarene, Capitol Heights, MD

"Spontaneous Joy" - Improvisations on hymns and Christian song, jazz and popular standards, classical themes, and fun demonstrations, including Joe's "A.D.D. Improvisation". Presented in conjunction with Community of Hope Church of the Nazarene, Washington, DC


SATURDAY 2/5/11:7-10pm

Joe performs with the Shore Jazz Trio at the Globe, Berlin, MD

John Ewart joins Mike McShane and Joe for an evening of straight ahead jazz.

FRIDAY 2/11/11: 7pm

Joe performs at the Melwood Church of the Nazarene, Upper Marlboro, MD

Joe is the featured performer for: "I'll Be Seeing You - An evening of classic love songs".


SUNDAY 2/27/11: 2pm

Joe performs for the Tri State Jazz Society - in concert at the Porch Club, Riverton NJ.

Joe's first performance for TJJS: "Stride Piano: A Continuing Legacy of Spontaneous Joy"


SATURDAY 3/5/11: 8pm

Joe performs in concert at the Darlington Arts Center, Garnet Valley, PA

Joe performs for the monthly Coffeehouse series: "Spontaneous Joy". A wholly improvised concert, from classical themes to jazz standards, to entertaining demonstrations of musical improvisation (including Joe's A.D.D. Improv), and original music from "Stories Without Words


see the schedule

Mailbag/Comment Box

Joe is one of the few people who I think really becomes "one" with the piano. And definitely the only one I know who does this.


Joe -- speculation, of course, but I'm thinking, as I listen to this, that the only guy with a bigger grin on his face than me is Vince Guaraldi  :)    


 You are so good! I love all your work


Anyone can tell you love what you are doing,,,You do it so well! This is great and makes me smile,,,(I smile when I'm happy and your fine work at the piano makes me happy,) I smile a lot cause I listen to you a lot!!


You put expression into jazz. I never heard such melodic jazz in my life, your singing tone is unbelievable. You bring refinement to jazz. You are the Horowitz on jazz  (to which I say: good grief!)


I love how effortlessly you play. You can full on play while watching the ball game at the same time can't you? Come on... be honest!

Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist

from lesson 1C: The Unique Challange for the Pianist

The invention of the piano, now over 300 years ago, was motivated by a desire to create a viable keyboard instrument (for stage performance), with dynamic control from note to note (the capability to gradually increase or decrease volume over the course of a phrase). Most every lyrical/melodic instrument has this capability, which may be best represented by the human voice. Whether in singing or in speaking, deep expression can be conveyed through the rise and fall of, not only pitch, but volume (dynamics); the aggressive roar, the quieting whisper, the frantic crescendo, the soothing diminuendo...

The innovation of the piano was in the ability to control the volume of each note by manipulating the velocity at which a felt lined "hammer" is thrown toward a string (or strings). The depression of a single piano key, rather than simply triggering the pluck of a string (harpsichord), of the release of air into a pipe (organ), created the opportunity not only to produce a musical note, but to control it's volume (and, to some extent, the quality) of sound...


The purpose of this lesson is to put playing the piano in perspective by engaging not only the benefits of the "new technology", but also the (unintended?) consequence of it's application: that, by design (and definition), the piano is now a percussion instrument. Of course, a label only really matters, in our endeavors, with regard to it's meaning. Why care that the piano is a percussion instrument? Because this defines perhaps the greatest challenge in playing this instrument, and is (at least, a big part of) the reason why some find it nearly impossible to make the piano actually sound good...

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News Headlines

100th performance for Philadelphia Protestant Home (IL) residents 


Debut Concert for the Tri-State Jazz Society, 2/27/10


Free "Stories Without Words" CD offer thru 1/31/11

Joe's 2011 YouTube channel now open


read the news


From the Journal
Ouch! Perhaps this is how Santa feels after Christmas. Perhaps someone should help him get up. As we were reminded in church today, this is the 9th day of Christmas, but now, of course, our culture has moved on. January 2, 2011 certainly suggests that we look ahead, and not back. I'm trying to learn a thrid way, though: to stand (be) still. Okay, so I have a short attention span, and it may be, at best, 2 minutes at a time. That works - in fact, the briefest encounter with stillness will unite us to the moment. And in the moment, is eternity.
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Thanks for allowing me to continue to share "my world" with you. Let's stay in touch!
Blessings and awareness,