Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter
July, 2012
Vol 8, No 6
                                                     A New Season

Hope this finds you well. Years down the road, I may remember 2012 as the year the "intuitive portal" installed a new accessible  on-ramp. Also, as the year I found a new "home" recording studio, and began aggressively recording and releasing new product. It's a (delicate at times) balancing act between the "wide open mind performance", and the "head out of the clouds, feet on the ground, one step in front of the other" navigation when away from the piano bench. One thing for sure; learning never ends. A slow study I am, but when I (finally) get it ... 
Featured Performance
On Saturday, August 25, Spontaneous Invention; the newly minted trio of Dave Schiff, Mike McShane and I will raise our profile a bit with a performance in the Stoltz Listening Room of the Avalon Theatre, in Easton, MD. Spontaneous Invention is not just a(nother) little jazz trio. It is more like a celebration of joyful (and often high energy) connection.  Read our (ongoing) blog, and see: "It's all about the journey!"
This is a wonderful intimate performance room. Seating is limited, so act now.
Performance Schedule
AUGUST 2012: 

Featured Performances and Shows:

SATURDAY 8/25/12: 8pm
Spontaneous Invention at the Avalon Theatre (Stoltz room), Easton, MD
Dave Schiff, Mike McShane and Joe make their debut performance in the intimate Stoltz Listening Room. From the Avalon Theatre website:
"Spontaneous Invention is a jazz trio consisting of Dave Schiff (who performed for 20 years with the U.S. Navy's premiere jazz ensemble, the Commodores), Mike McShane, and Joe Holt. The musical conversation of Dave, Mike, and Joe is borne of a unique intuitive connection they share...Even if you don't think you like jazz, you will recognize that something interesting is going on here, and be drawn to the conversation.
Joe also performs with:
THURSDAY 8/9/12: 7-10pm
Dave Schiff at Cypress, Rehoboth Beach, DE

A duo with Dave, on the patio of Rehoboth's NOLA themed restaurant.

FRIDAY 8/10/12: 7-10pm 
Shore Jazz at Jerry's Seafood, Lewes, DE
Be sure to reserve. Always a good crowd, and a great evening.
SUNDAY 8/12/12: 1-3pm
Peggy Raley joins Mike and Joe for live jazz at the Annual Fine Art and Craft Show.

THURSDAY 8/16/12: 7-10pm 
Dave Schiff at Cypress, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Enjoy some gumbo on the patio with your jazz.

FRIDAY 8/24/12: 7-10pm 
Shore Jazz at Jerry's Seafood, Lewes, DE
Be sure to reserve. Always a good crowd, and a great evening (yes, I said that already, but it's worth repeating).

Many other events take place. Call 877-JOE-HOLT, or e-mail Joe  


From the Mailbag/Comment Box
Wonderful to see and hear you all creating on the fly, so intimately. 

You are a singer's dream. It's a true two-way street when you accompany

Your videos deserve far more views than they have. Listening to you is wonderful, very inspiring, thank you.

Joe, it was great to see and hear you again. Loved the music!

How many years does it take to achieve improvising like that?

 I really admire the grooves that you always are able to lay down with such ease :)

Join the Street Team
Okay, if you're inclined to help in supporting my efforts, I have an assignment for you. I've posted an audio link to one of the track from the new solo CD, to be released in September: "In the Spirit of Dave McKenna", and you can get the link here.
If you like it (and I hope so), send it wherever you think it will provoke a smile. Thanks!
In and From the Recording Studio
Don't want to count my chickens (have to find them first, anyway), but it appears that I have attained (and hope to sustain) a goal: to visit the recording studio (with a good piano) once a month, and let the ideas (and projects) flow. I did, however, go in to the new studio (for the first time) last month with an agenda; to release a Dave McKenna inspired CD by the Chestertown Jazz Festival. 2 sessions have left me with more than enough material. Can't brag though; Erroll Garner (another influential pianist for me) could spend a full day in the studio and crank out 3 full albums (LPs), so they say. Doubt I could stay on the same subject for that long. Slow and steady ... but really, not so slow. Perhaps I should start looking for the seat belt.
Anyway, you can look for an announcement coming soon!
New (and noteworthy) on You Tube
Only one new post since the last newsletter: 
(yes, you read it right) 

And from the video post archive
This performance was in 2006, just a few weeks after my epiphany (documented in the journal) that set me on my current path (that has now brought me to the place I describe in the opening of this newsletter). Though there has been an evolution in my playing from then to now, I think this video still demonstrates the growth in "letting go", and connection with the audience. That, and the observation that I was heavier then, and am hairier now. 

Joe's You Tube Channels: 

Performance documentation channels:
and the 
Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist Channel


In the "News" (blog)

Press release - New CD to be released on 9/15/12 



Read the News 

Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist
Excerpted from lesson 2A: Being Your Own Editor (available soon):
A song is an opportunity. In my world of musical improvisation in particular, the song supplies structure into which creativity is channeled. To some, the particular structure (song) needs to meet certain criteria/standards before being taken seriously (4 bedrooms, a finished basement and a swimming pool will define an acceptable structure for some). To others, including myself, the structure provides utility (reliable shelter, protection from the elements...) along with much flexibility. I am often asked which is my favorite song. As one who sees things (for himself) through the lenses of utllity, the question struggles for relevance. Rather than answer "I have no idea" (an unsatisfactory response, though the truth), I'll say "whatever I'm playing" (which is also true). As a solo pianist; improvisation on a song is, in essence, an arrangement (even if only played the same way once).  Sometimes a compliment will come housed in that terminology: "I like your arrangement". The person may understand that the "arrangement" was improvised, or (depending on the circumstances) they may assume (seeing through the lens of their own experience) that I memorized (Me? Keep anything straight? Yeah, right!) from sheet music. So then, whether the song/arrangement is improvised or memorized (read from sheet music first), the impact is the same, as is the underlying essence.


Featured Article
The view from the piano at Blue House Recording Studio last night. After over 4 years of not having a "home" (with a suitable piano) for (my own) recording, I certainly feel back in the saddle. Will admit to having been spoiled by having the use (and choice of) the 2 nine foot grand pianos at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, DE (when Marc Moss was in residence. He has since moved on). Save that (and thankfully) this is the best piano I've come across (a somewhat shorter Steinway), along with an engineer that is very good, as well as a good fit/compliment for me. 2 sessions have allowed for the completion of tracks for this fall's release ("In the Spirit of Dave McKenna"), and the initial poking into (at least) 3 others (remember who you're reading about here). Even more exciting is that I'm now at the place where the "portal" is more easily opened; allowing for a much more compelling outcome. The momentum this creates is already in play. More to come. 


Read the Journal 

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