Joe Holt has been a full-time performing musician for over 40 years. Also a Board Certified Music Therapist, Joe performs for the connections that music makes, and a shared experience with his audiences. He is known for his imaginative, whimsical improvisations and a joy in performing, as well as being a sensitive accompanist and collaborator. Joe's formal studies span jazz and classical, and the influence of both worlds can be heard. Though rightly considered a jazz pianist in the classic traditions, Joe is best described not with a stylistic label but by his engaging improvisational performances; in and for the moment, creating a space for all in the audience to join him. Jazz fans will appreciate Joe, but so will those for whom "jazz" may not be so appealing.
Joe's professional career began in earnest when he received his New Jersey driver's license in the 1970's and could get to gigs on his own. While still a teenager, Joe had assumed Organist and Music Director duties at a neighborhood church, was house pianist/accompanist at a local restaurant, and playing in several Philadelphia area bands, often working 6 nights/week. And, though evolving through the years, he has never slowed down. Past musical experiences include concert and jazz festival touring throughout the US, extensive Atlantic City casino performing, over a decade as Cherry Hill (NJ) Mall's food court pianist, concert and music therapy related performances in dozens of regional senior communities, along with various music director/staff positions.
More recently, Joe has been the host of the "Mainstay Mondays" series at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, MD from 2016, performing collaborative concerts with regional guest artists every Monday night. He has been a walk on entertainer for American Cruise Lines at ports along the Chesapeake Bay since 2009. Joe is a regular sideman with regional jazz groups and accompanist/musical director for several vocalists and singer/songwriters, in addition to his solo concerts and other collaborative performances. He also maintains a connection to music therapy related work at Heron Point, the continuing care community in Chestertown, MD, beginning in 1994 and continuing to the present.
Currently, with the sudden and dramatic changes to the ability for musicians to perform publicly, Joe has increased his on-line presence to include a weekly live streaming "Escape, From Home" piano hour, accessible to all from his Facebook page.
Joe appears on over 30 album recordings, including his latest solo release, "Keeping a Hand in This, and That, and The Other Thing" and is on the music faculty of Washington College in Chestertown, MD. He lives on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
"The ever tasteful pianist Joe Holt is a soloist extraordinaire; an intense musician with terrific chops, who shows you he means business." Cam Miller, The American Rag
"An excellent stride/swing pianist." Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene
"The genuine article, an artiste, whose work is a reflection and an extension of who he is." Ed Wise, Tri-State Jazz Society