Joe Holt's Notes
Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter
January, 2012
Vol 8, No 1
                  Moving Forward, and Steppin' Out  

Hope things are well for you as we lunge into 2012. In the journal post to the right, you'll see a picture from the stride show at 49 West earlier this month. The response was both warm and enthuastiastic, which, of course is very nice. Looking forward to returning to 49 West in November, along with all of the concert and performance opportunities in the near term. Included among these is my unique "He's Steppin' Out" performance; described below. I expect 2012 to be interesting, at least. As usual, (some) details follow ...   
Featured Performance
Perhaps you know the story: Back in the 1980's I began a children's choir at the church in NJ in which I served as music director. Not finding any material of subsance (this was pre-veggie tales), I began to write my own.
Before long the children were performing songs like "One Big Mess", I Want a Peanut Butter Sanndwich" and "Pay Me What You Owe" with quite the dramatic flair (including props and costumes). In 2002 (when the children's choir was a distant memory), I brought in Jimmy Lawlor to perform alongside of me on the reworked arrangements for the CD: "He's Steppin' Out". Soon after it's release, Brian Whitaker took the baton, and has been my comic partner for live performances. Brian and I are looking forward to performing "He's Steppin' Out" at the Leonardtown Church of the Nazarene in Southern MD, tonight (1/29, as I write this) at 6pm. A reception follows, and who knows (with Brian in the building) what will actually happen just before. Few on this list are actually near the church, so take this more as a general announcement of the "He's Steppin' Out" live event. Expect more to come.

Joe's Appearances
solo piano concerts:
FRIDAY 3/9/12: 7:30pm

Joe performs "A.D.D. Improvisation" at The Cabaret at Germano's, Baltimore, MD
Melding his classical background, extensive jazz experience, and a mind that can't seem to sit still, Joe presents an eclectic and entertaining evening of solo piano improvisation.

SATURDAY 4/21/12
Joe performs "A.D.D. Improvisation" at St. Margarets Episcopal Church, Annapolis, MD
"What a joy it was to watch Joe spin his magic spell ... that tickled the keys and the ears at the same time!
James R. Fitzpatrick, Director "Music at St. Margaret's" Concert Series, on Joe's performance of 7/24/11.

SUNDAY 5/13: 6:30pm
Joe performs A.D.D. Improvisation for the Second Sunday Coffeehouse at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Centerville, MD.
A new venue for Joe, and close to home. A.D.D. Improvisation has something for everybody - perfect for the "all ages music venue".

Joe also performs with:

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, 2/10,11,12/12
Joe performs with the Eddie Sherman Show, for Valentine's weekend at Cilantro's, in Rehoboth Beach. DE
Joe joins Sherman, and his special guests, for a trip back in time, and some good swinging jazz

FRIDAY 2/17/12: 6-9pm
Joe performs with Shore Jazz at Jerry's Seafood, Lewes, DE
John Ewart - sax, Mike McShane - drums, and Joe on keys bring swinging jazz back to Lewes once a month. Come, and welcome us back!

special event:
"He's Steppin Out"

SUNDAY 1/29/12: 6pm - Leonardtown (MD) Church of the Nazarene
Comedian/actor Brian Whitaker joins Joe for this one-of-a-kind performance dramatizing the music from Joe's CD of Bible lesson songs for children of all ages (up to 105): "He's Steppin' Out" 

see the schedule
Mailbag/Comment Box
Very impressive indeed Mr. Holt!

It is so great to see someone with such passion flowing through their fingertips

I am continually blown away by the way your brain can tell one hand to play one complicated thing over there while the other one is instructed to play something altogether different but equally complicated. I was not invigorated - I was exhausted at the end of the concert. I don't know how you do it!

Hey Joe, am I happy I dropped by man?........You gotcha grove thing on.........I flippin` loved that performance!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome dude, simply Awesome.....

Awesome once again Joe! I needed to stop and just listen for awhile.

Yeah Joe! Monk, McKenna and Fats all mixed into one.


In the News (blog)

New Video Playlist - St Margarets Church - 7/24/11

read the news
Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist
Even while I am having trouble writing new lessons beyond the snail's pace, the Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist Facebook page is another story. Slowly, it is becoming what I had hoped; a place for sharing, dialogue, and exploration among musicians. Here is my response to a recent question of how to learn fill for jazz pieces:
"My advice: Don't think in terms of "fill". Keith Jarret says (in "The Art of Improvisation") in essence: "Improvisation is not to take you from point A to point B, rather improvisation starts with nothing and ends with nothing". Try following the approach I outline in the above post. First: play familiar tunes with the purpose of connecting to them. No agenda. Enjoy each note, take your time, and wait for what comes - no matter how seemingly simple. Second (preferably at a separate sitting): do the "academic" thing: take a tune, write a lead sheet, and experiment. You may discover a little something that, once internalized, will show up on it's own (in step 1), and now it's a part of you. Bottom line, do things that will grow your ability to express, while embracing who you are right now as a musician/performer. Relax, and enjoy the journey. Hope this helps".
Check out the page, and like it, if you do.
Join the Street Team
It's wonderful when promoters and venues work together with an artist, to make an event successful. As much as I made sure that everyone I knew in the vicinity of Annapolis was made aware of the show at 49 West earlier this month, is was Elana Byrd who worked her mailing list (multiple times) to make the event a success. To be an "indie" artist is to make it happen more by referral and word of mouth than by (industry funded) promotional campaigns and mainstream radio airplay. So, if you like me (what I do) that's good, because I need you. If you have any particular ideas, or you just want to let me know you are out there, e-mail Thanks for all your support!  
From the Journal
Now this is a jazz room (and the first time I didn't mind sitting in front of the trumpet player)! Had a wonderful first experience performing at 49 West last night. A very special thanks to Elana Byrd, who took a determined interest in making the evening a success. I'm delighted to be a part of her jazz series, and (as has happened before) the first solo act of the bunch. This is a great little room for "intimate jazz", in a fine establishment with an owner who "gets it". Safe to say I felt the love last night, and appreciate all who came ("old" friends, and new). Thanks to Beth McDonald for the picture, and for running her video camera for the second set. Hope to open my 2012 YouTube channel (it'll be number 7) with video from this show. We'll see what I get. Rumor has it I'll be back in the fall. It's all good.



read the journal 

Find Joe on the Web

This time, just one link. Click on the image to go to Joe's website, and find (the "old fashioned way") what you're looking for.
Join Our Mailing List