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 or 7 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 performed as a walk on entertainer for American Cruise Lines at ports along the Chesapeake Bay from 2009-2019. Joe was the host of the "Mainstay Mondays" series at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, MD from May 2016, though December 2021, performing collaborative concerts with regional guest artists most every Monday night. In 2022, Joe began hosting a new ongoing series at the Mainstay: "First Fridays with Joe Holt". He is a regular sideman with regional jazz groups including "Shore Jazz", beginning in 2006, performing in the Delaware beach resort areas. Joe is at home as an accompanist, maintaining a number of connections, including a nearly 20 year performance and recording collaboration with singer/songwriter Beth McDonald Boger. Also, and more recently, a collaboration with vocalist Sharon Sable, with the album "Once Upon a Summertime", a tribute to the music of Blossom Dearie, scheduled for release in early 2023. Joe's longest standing collaboration began in high school, nearly 50 years ago, with Joe and Paul Midiri. Joe currently performs with the Midiri Brothers band, as well as the original trio. He also performs often as a soloist. Beginning in April 2020, in response to the pandemic, Joe began Facebook livestreaming from home. These weekly events - now "Piano For My Friends" and "My View From the Piano Bench" continue, and have been moved to his primary You Tube channel. Joe appears on over 30 album recordings, is on the music faculty at Washington College, in Chestertown, MD, and lives on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
"The ever tasteful soloist extraordinaire ..."
Cam Miller, The American Rag
"An excellent stride/swing pianist."
Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene
"The genuine article"
Ed Wise, Tri-State Jazz Society
"A thousand kudos to you, Joe"
Matt Mielnick, director - The Mainstay