Friday, June 24, 2016

A New Recording for Mike McShane

It was time for this. The little group that performs as the "Mike McShane Trio", including Paul Midiri on vibes, has gelled into some solid musical camaraderie (and occasional wacky hijinks) over the last couple of years. Looking to push out beyond our regular recurrences at the Culturled Pearl, and with a couple of concert venues on the schedule (where it is always a good idea to have product to offer), this was the time. If you just looked at the sleeve (packaging), you might think you were looking at a jazz LP from the 70's. Not a bad reference frame. Recorded in one afternoon, this little unit captures it well, with a refreshing variety of grooves and styles. Click here for a track you can stream. For the rest, you'll just have to send Mike an email and order one.   ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Announcing "Mainstay Mondays".


Beginning on Memorial Day (5/31) and running through Labor Day (9/6), the Mainstay, in Rock Hall Maryland will be hosting a Monday night concert series where I will joined by a different guest artist each week. Yes, a show every Monday night! Come and meet my musical friends, and enjoy a fresh experience each week, as I bring a bit of my world to the Mainstay.
Visit the Mainstay's Facebook page for guest artist info.
Join and share the Facebook event for this series. 
See the schedule on the Mainstay website

Featured artists:
5/30 - Mike McShane/Paul Midiri - drums/vibes
6/6  - Peggy Raley/Eddie Sherman - vocalists
6/13 - Vince Lardear - sax
6/20 - Dan Tobias - cornet
6/27 - Rhonda Apple - vocals
7/4  - Melissa McGlynn and John Schratweiser - vocals
7/11 - Chick Redd - vibes
7/18 - Roo Brown - songs and stories
7/25 - Donato Soverio - guitar
8/1  - Max Murray - bass
8/8  - Midiri Brothers - clarinet/drums
8/15 - Sue Matthews - vocals
8/22 - Dick Durham - piano
8-29 - Geoff Gallante - trumpet
9/5  - Nevin Dawson - viola 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

About Joe (updated bio)


Joe Holt is a full time performing pianist, beginning as a teenager in the 
1970's, first influenced by the recordings of early jazz pianists including 
Fats Waller and Teddy Wilson. Also a Board Certified Music Therapist, Joe 
performs for the connections that music makes, and a shared experience 
with his audiences. Known for his creative improvisations and a joy of 
performing, Joe's formal studies span both jazz and classical, and the 
influence of both worlds can be heard. Past experiences include concert 
and jazz festival touring throughout the US, extensive Atlantic City casino 
performing, over a decade  as Cherry Hill Mall's food court pianist, concert 
and music therapy related performances in dozens of regional senior 
communities, and various music director/staff positions. Currently, Joe hosts the Mainstay Mondays series in Rock Hall, MD from the piano. He also performs weekly at the "piano bar" at JR's Pub in Chestertown, MD,
 as a walk on entertainer for American Cruise Lines, and is a regular with area groups and acts; including Shore Jazz, the Mike McShane Trio, Eddie Sherman Show and Barbara Parker and Company. He also partners with singer/songwriter Beth McDonald in theatre, cabaret and church concerts, among other projects.
Joe appears on over 30 recordings, 10 of which are on his own label. 
Learn more at www.joeholtsnotes.com
Joe lives in Worton, MD  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

New Video Playlist - Barbara Parker at the Mainstay



On January 31, 2016, Barbara Parker performed at the Mainstay, in Rock Hall, MD, releasing her new CD, "A Little Out Of Focus". 4 selections from the second half of the show comprise the You Tube video playlist, which can be watched in the box above, or by clicking here, to be taken to the playlist page. Enjoy!

Beth and Joe On Both Sides of the Bay


On Friday April 8th, at 8pm, Beth McDonald and I will be returning to the Stoltz Listening Room of the Avalon Theatre, in Easton, MD, and on Sunday May 1, to The Cabaret at Germano's, in Baltimore. 2 of our very favorite venues, each with it's own unique charm and vibe. Click on the highlighted links to be taken to the ticket ordering sites. If you are in the area, consider coming to one of the shows. Or both   ;)

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Return to the Mainstay


I am one of the fortunate performing artists around here (or anywhere) that has the opportunity to periodically appear on stage at the Mainstay, in Rock Hall, MD. I am sometimes there in support of others; such as Barbara Parker's recent CD release concert, or as part of an open workshop for jazz students, or playing a private function. This coming Saturday, though, I'm on the bill, along with Beth McDonald, performing a "Love Stories" themed concert for Valentine's Day weekend. Beth and I last appeared together on the Mainstay stage in 2013, so I'm looking forward to this one. Okay, I look forward to all of them. And this one. Make your reservation by calling (410) 639-9133, and learn more here

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Barbara Parker - A Little Out Of Focus.


Which may be true, but what I mean is that Barbara is releasing a new CD, with a release concert at the Mainstay on Sunday January 31 at 4pm. The very short version of the story is that Barbara offered me the role of musical director/producer for this project, and I felt I could be helpful in all of that, so I ran with it. A Little Out of focus could be translated A Little All Over the Place, which is a part of what I helped to facilitate, actually, with a stylistically diverse collection (albeit country laced) as a result. Of course, any suggestion I would make to Barbara would have to be greeted with a "yes, please" (and often was) to see the light of day, as this was about bringing to the surface what she wanted to express (and nothing more or less). So now, Barbara has a quality product to help promote her latest (43rd, perhaps - and don't think she puts one thing away to start another, these all run at the same time) artistic endeavor. Check out the new release here. You will like it.   Okay Barbara, focus now (wait, come back here. What, a new painting? Nice. Okay, put that brush down and sing this. Okay then, fine ...)

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Beth and Joe Return to The Cabaret at Germano's - rescheduled


We love Germano's, and are glad to be returning, this time for a Sunday brunch performance on February 28th (rescheduled from January 24th due to the snowstorm), with seating at 12pm. It's the one place we perform that is pretty much halfway between Beth and me, in Baltimore's Little Italy. And honestly, it's worth the drive. Join us for wonderful food, atmosphere, and a welcome into our world.  
From the Germano's website:
 "A songwriter from the time she could climb onto a piano bench, Beth McDonald was nearly 30 years old before she was willing to try to sing by herself in front of anyone - baptized by fire, so to speak, by becoming the lead singer for the nationally acclaimed DC area New Legacy Jazz Band, where she worked with her accompanist Joe Holt, who has enjoyed a 40-year career as a soloist and touring artist. Together, they perform at historic theaters, cabarets, churches, and festivals, covering music from various genres, such as gospel, blues, pop standards, and some contemporary material as well as Beth’s compositions, which fall into several of those categories. To them, sharing time on the stage is home, and they welcome you into that space. Come and make yourselves at home!" 
Order tickets

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Heron Point inaugurates Jazz Vespers



On Sunday November 15, the weekly Vespers (church) service at the Heron Point Retirement Community took a turn. The initiative for Jazz Vespers came from Chaplain Anne Ledbetter, to whom this was new. As some know, in my last church staff position (Chestertown Church of the Nazarene, 2003-2006), we ran a Jazz Vespers series for much of the time. This approach to worship is common enough that most have heard of it, and uncommon enough that most have not experienced it. For Anne and I, it was an opportunity to meld collective vision and expertise into a worship experience that was meaningful to everyone present (musicians included). 
There are differing approaches and understandings to Jazz Vespers, though all have one thing in common; the expanded role of music and creative performance in a(n ultimately) God-focused context. Central in my view, is the revelatory nature of creation:
 " For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities ... have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made ..." (Romans 1:20). This is a grounding for me in all things musical; to let music (creation and creativity) "speak". So perhaps you could say that the guys and I joined Chaplain Anne in a bit of "preachin'". The video post above (click through to the YouTube post for performer credits and more info) is the continuation of "Amazing Grace" after the congregational singing.
Looking forward to the next Jazz Vespers opportunity    

Monday, October 12, 2015

Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival Weekend, 2015


Again this year, the True Blue Jazz Series runs concurrent (and competing) with the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival; this weekend - October 14-17. The series continues to grow, featuring local and national acts, including headliner Diane Schuur on Friday night. For Saturday night's closing event, Geoff Gallante returns to join the Eddie Sherman Show for 2 concerts at 7:30 and 9:30pm. I'll be in the rhythm section, along with Bob Thomas and Mike McShane for these, in addition to the (free!) Rehoboth Beach Bandstand performance in the afternoon. Always look forward to performing with Geoff.
Click here for info and tickets.
In addition to the ticketed shows presented by both True Blue Series and the Rehoboth Beach Festival, many of the local restrauants offer jazz on the menu this weeekend. Just think of the entire town as a jazz club, and your expectations won't be far off the mark. For my part in the "trenches" I will be at the Cultured Pearl on Thursday (10/15) from 7-10 and Friday (10/16) from 4-7 with the Mike McShane Trio, featuring Dave Schiff on sax. Hope to see you there!
For more info on these and other performance dates, check the schedule.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Spend a "Weekend with Joe" at The Inn at Huntingfield Creek


Over the weekend of March 11-13, 2016, The Inn at Huntingfield Creek and I are partnering to offer a special event package "Weekend with Joe." Enjoy this wonderful Eastern Shore resort, and let me play piano for you while you're here!
This is an opportunity for those who don't live on Maryland's beautiful Eastern Shore (and 
even for those who do) to spend a unique and memorable weekend.

The weekend features:
All the comfort and amenities of a stay at the Inn at Huntingfield Creek. Innkeeper Joanne Rich elaborates:"We offer top notch lodging in a dynamic yet Zen setting. This 70 acre estate features over-the-top luxuries in a variety of accommodations including 5 Inn House Rooms and 7 swank Cottages. Add Joe's music offerings to Inn's comfort and hospitality, and guests are assured of nurturing mind, body and soul!"

The weekend schedule includes:
Friday evening
A meet and greet cocktail reception, including choice wines with delectable cocktail-hour taste temptations from the Inn at Huntingfield Creek Kitchen. Meet your hosts Jim and Joanne Rich. I'll be the pianist   ;)
Saturday morning
The Inn's famous full country breakfast, with piano accompaniment.
Saturday afternoon
"Conversations in Music"
An informal, interactive session. The conversation can be about music, or with music. For all who play piano, I'll invite you to join me in an "Intuitive Improvisation" duet. Open to all levels. I sat at the piano bench (pictured above) with Joanne Rich recently, who describes the "intuitive improvisation" experience: 
"This was such a liberating, fun (and semi-scary) exercise into to the realm of musical possibilities." 
Whether you play music yourself, or just enjoy being around it, you can look forward to a fun and memorable afternoon. 
Saturday evening
I asked "Chef Joanne" for the menu. Okay, maybe I'm asking a bit too soon   ;)
"Don't ask me now, Joe! I need to be inspired by the season and the offerings...but I promise you'll love it!" 
You can count on an interesting selection including a fish and meat entree and perhaps one of her renowned pastas, along with the best available veggies, something that incorporates ancient grains, the Inn's special fresh Corn Spoonbread and a decadent dessert or two. I've seen Jim and Joanne in the kitchen, many times, preparing meals and serving an Inn full of guests. You are in good hands.
Following dinner: A private concert living room concert (on the piano pictured above). 
Sunday morning
"Sunday Morning Stride"
The Inn's Sunday breakfasts are always a little over the top. The same full-country style with some special extras, accompanied by stride/classic jazz piano classics including spirituals and Gospel favorites from the New Orleans and Blues traditions.
  
Pricing:
Inn House Rooms- $675. + appl. taxes & 10% service chg. (selection 1st come, 1st serve)
Cottages- $825. + appl.taxes & 10% service chg. (selection 1st come, 1st serve)
Weekend includes- 2 nights stay, breakfasts, unlimited wine/beer & beverages, Fri. welcome cocktail party, Sat. gourmet dinner, and all music sessions/entertainment.


Contact the Inn for more info, and to book your room.  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Video Playlist - The Inn at Huntingfield Creek - 5/14/15.




On occasion, I have the fun of presenting an entertainment program for the closing evening of a Vermont Bike Tours excursion, hosted by The Inn at Huntingfield Creek, in Rock Hall, MD. Not unlike my performances for American Cruise Lines, including a living room setting. Here, however, I get to play on a real piano (as opposed to a keyboard), and nothing is moving. Jim and Joanne (innkeepers) always provide a memorable experience for their guests. 
You can watch the 4 secections or in the box above, or click here to see the list of video posts on the playlist page.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Vespers at Heron Point


Exactly one year ago, the Rev. Dr. Anne Ledbetter came to Chestertown as the new Chaplain of Heron Point retirement community. Over the years (I have been providing music, in some fashion, at Heron Point since 1994, for independent as well as health care residents), I continue to have opportunity, on occasion, to play for a Vespers or memorial service led by the chaplain. It's probably fair to say that the same thought/sense quickly occurred to both Anne and me: "Now here's someone I can work with!". Anne brought about some structural change which allows them to bring me on board to provide service music for approximately half of the Vespers services; on Sundays at 4pm, which began this month. This is cool for, among other reasons, the longstanding rapport that I have with many of the residents (I always feel I am among many friends when I am over there), who are glad to see me in the seat. Also, there is always a part of me that misses providing (traditional) service music, and now I get to do just that. Finally, working in a church (or similar) environment is, for me, not a "peg in slot", but more about the common (God) focus and collaborative effort. Bingo. Or, to be Presbyterian, providence.

New Video Playlist - Beth McDonald and Joe - Parkville Nazarene



Beth McDonald and I were privileged to present a concert on Sunday morning May 17, 2015, for the warm and friendly congregation of the Baltimore/Parkville Church of the Nazarene, at the invitation of The Rev. Dr. Neal Gray - pastor. I knew that the piano was being tuned for the service, but what I didn't learn, until that morning, was that this was the first time in several years that the piano was used in church at all. Made it even sweeter. The 3 video posts in this playlist inclue one of Beth's originals. You can play the videos in the box above, or go to the playlist page by clicking here

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New waterfront fine dining (with Joe) in Chestertown

The view from the dining room at the Inn at Worton Creek. On Memorial Day weekend, Chestertown's newest restaurant opened in the space that was once the Harbor House, providing a fine dining opportunity at the Worton Creek Marina. I played on Friday evening, and felt very much at home. Looking forward to perform, as house pianist for both locals and visitors roughly once every other weekend. Music is scheduled from 6-9pm.
dates:
5/30
6/13
6/27
7/10
7/18
8/1
8/15
8/29


So get in your boat (or car) and come on over.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Do Church With Us, Even If You Don't Attend.


Beth McDonald and I are looking forward to sharing worship experiences with concerts in the morning services of Melwood Church of the Nazarene, in Upper Marlboro, MD, and Baltimore/Parkville Church of the Nazarene over the next 2 Sundays: May 10 and 17, 2015. Selections from "All Nature Sings", our recent hymns/gospel release, along with Beth's contemporary/gospel originals are featured, in a presentation titled "From Broken to Redeemed." Service times are as follows:
Melwood - 5/10/15 - 10:45am
Parkville - 5/17/15 - 11:00am
If you can't attend, the good news (among other Good News) is that Melwood church live streams their worship. Click here to watch
If you can't watch live, the service is archived, so you can watch later.
So maybe we'll see you. Or you will see us.    ;)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Beth and Joe Return to Chestertown Church of the Nazarene on 4/19/15.


Or, you could say that we are returning to the scene of the crime. When I was on staff of this church, as Worship Arts Director, from 2003-2006, Beth was representative (and perhaps more so than anyone) of why I was there: to help encourage, develop and nuture the expressive gifts of those in the congregation; both to enhance our worship experience, and for God's larger purposes in their lives. Although Beth looks nothing like a brick wall, that is pretty much what I encountered when it came to her "taking the stage". Immensely talented, and equally private, Beth's gifts were kept hidden, known only to her closest family and friends. Over time, however (and with creative persistence), the wall began to chip away, leading to the day when Beth sang solo in public, as an adult, for the first time, as I accompanied her performing "Stormy Weather" in a jazz vesper's service. These days, the wall is gone, and Beth is an experienced professional. Along with her performing experience in festivals, theaters, cabaret venues and churches, she has produced 5 albums: 4 on her own label, along with our duo release: All Nature Sings. Hymns and gospel selections from this release will be featured in the concert, along with Beth's original contemporary/gospel music. Wherever we perform, it is an offering to God. This particular "homecoming" performance in Chestertown will be a special one.  

New Video Playlist - David Sacks and Joe Holt



On Saturday March 14, David Sacks; a trombonist from the CD area, and I presented a concert for the residents of Heron Point, in Chestertown, MD. We've done this several times now (sometimes including David's brother Steve, who is a saxophonist living/working in Japan), and it has become quite comfortable. We put this playlist together from the 3/14 show for promotional purposes, figuring that other audiences just might like it, too     ;)
Hope you enjoy the three video posts included here. You can click through the video above to see the playlist, or just watch it from here. Here is a direct link to the playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHZAprIiTCW-tREUYxBFrllbJkpAPjc-B

Friday, March 6, 2015

10th Annual Women Helping Women Concert at the Garfield Center for the Arts


The Women Helping Women concert, now in it's 10th year at the Garfield center for the Arts in Chestertown, MD, doesn't need any help from me as far as getting the word out. Everyone (around here) knows, and every year is a sellout. It is a special event for a special cause. And in this wonderfully supportive community, that's all it takes. I get to sit in the accompanist seat (with the ornamented title of musical director) each year and hold hands with many fine performers, each one pouring their heart and soul into their individual performance, and the larger collective experience. If you want to touch the heart and soul of this community, and you've never come to Women Helping Women, you should make this the year, and order your tickets now. A performing arts center full of love - from the back of the stage to the last balcony seat - doesn't happen every day. But once a year, for sure. 

learn more    

Watch the concert on Ustream  (performance held on 3/18/15)

  

Friday, February 20, 2015

Private Instruction Now Available in Chestertown, MD Area


We profit from being on both sides of the educational exchange. Here is proof that I was a beginner piano student once; my certificate of completion of my first piano method book. This is a marker of the beginning of a long (and winding) road for me, that continues to now (or to infinity and beyond). For many years, I was active in private music instruction, but not so in recent years. And I miss it. One of the roadblocks was having a viable location where I could maintain a regular teaching schedule. Thankful to have now worked out an arrangement with St. Paul's Episcopal Church, in Chestertown, MD for the use of their parish hall (and grand piano) for lessons. So I'll keep practicing, learning and growing, and continue to encourage others in the same.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Video Playlist - First Wesleyan Church - 11/23/14



On November 23, 2014, at 3pm, I had the privilege of performing solo piano in concert at the First Wesleyan Church, in Easton MD. This one was a bit unique, in that my friend Dawn Steward arranged this especially for her piano students, to demonstrate musical improvisation. It was also open to the public. I had the privilege of participating in the worship service that morning, as well. The afternoon concert featured musical improvisation from many directions, a few of which are featured in these 4 video posts. Hope you enjoy them.
You can watch in the box above, of access the playlist page here.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Beth McDonald returns to the Garfield Center for the Arts in Chestertown, for "Melody and Meaning".


On Saturday. March 21, 2015 at 8pm, singer/songwriter Beth McDonald returns to the stage at the Garfield Center for the Arts, in Chestertown, MD for the third consecutive year. The concert; "Melody and Meaning" is an eclectic mix of classic and contemporary, featuring jazz and popular favorites across the years, as well as Beth's "new vintage" original music. I will be joined in accompanying Beth by local favorites Pres Harding - guitar and Jeff Davis -bass. John Schratwieser, former Executive Director of the Garfield Center (Prince Theatre) says: "Beth McDonald and Joe Holt are spectacular on their own and pure magic together!" Come, see for yourself. Don't miss this opportunity to experience the many sides of Beth McDonald. Visit http://garfieldcenter.org or call 410-810-2060 for tickets.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Mike McShane Trio at The Cultured Pearl, Rehoboth Beach, DE, in 2015


Jazz, at least periodically, has found another home in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Mike McShane has established his trio as a favorite at this unique and popular venue. Upscale but casual; The Cultured Pearl and tasteful, swinging jazz find themselves a perfect fit. The trio is comprised of Mike and I, playing the 2 man rhythm section, and a featured regional jazz artist. Paul Midiri often joins us on vibes, but other fine musicians can be found on the stage, including saxophonist Vince Lardear. The times vary by season; earlier in the winter, later in the summer. Dates may change (and some new may be added), so email me or double check with my schedule before coming out:

January:     Friday/Saturday 1/9, 10
February:    Friday/Saturday 2/20, 21
April:          Friday/Saturday 4/10, 11
May:              Friday/Saturday/Sunday 5/22, 23, 24
July:           Friday/Saturday 7/3, 4
September: Friday/Saturday/Sunday 9/4, 5, 6
October:     Thursday/Friday(early shift) 10/15, 16 (Jazz Festival week)
December:  Saturday/Sunday 12/26, 27

Hope to see you!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Celebrate the Season at Germano's

Beth McDonald and I love performing at The Cabaret at Germano's, in Baltimore's Little Italy. This is our first opportunity to perform a Christmas/Holiday show there, and we're ready (and willing, and by most accounts, able. We've done this before). We know how important the weekends are for your holiday shopping excursions, so just for you, we've scheduled a Thursday evening: December 11. You didn't want to cook anyway. Or watch those same old television shows. So join us. 

"Fans love Beth’s freshly modern jazz stylings that wax nostalgic for the cool, polished vocals of a bygone era. Joe is best known for his imaginative, joyful improvisations that never fail to surprise and delight. Together they’re a musically magical duo whose holiday show will help make this the most wonderful time of the year!"


                       http://germanospiattini.com/events/        410-752-4515


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Christmas on the Square, in Leonardtown, MD


On (Black) Friday, November 28th, at around 7pm, Beth McDonald and I will be in concert at the Leonardtown MD Church of the Nazarene, as a part of Leonardtown's "Christmas on the Square" celebration. 

From the Leonardtown MD Facebook page:
 Ring in the holiday season on Friday, November 28th from 5 - 9:00 PM with Leonardtown’s annual "Christmas on the Square" and "Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony" held on Washington Street in the Leonardtown Square. 
Event activities start at 5:00 p.m. and include holiday music, rides, an ice sculpture demonstration, a petting zoo, live nativity, face painting, and much more!

Our concert begins immediately after the tree lighting, at approximately 7pm. You can enjoy the outdoor festivities for awhile, then come in out of the cold. This is our first time playing the event, and we are looking forward to it. Sounds like fun!

Link to the Nazarene Church event page 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ongoing Piano Bar Schedule

Bookmark this page to be kept current on the "piano bar" schedule at JR's Pub, in Chestertown MD. Dates will be refreshed periodically. Click here for Joe's complete schedule. Email joeholt@joeholtsnotes.com for information on private instruction. 

Joe Holt performs solo piano, concentrating on jazz/popular standards and show tunes. 
Joe plays Wednesdays and most Sundays, all 5-7.
subject to dark dates - see schedule below.

Philip Dutton plays and sings an eclectic mix of music from song writers such as Randy Newman, Leon Russell, David Gray, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Warren Zevon, along with a few tunes from his Louisiana roots and the New Orleans piano legends: Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Huey "Piano" Smith, Jon Cleary, etc.
Philip plays 1 or 2 Sundays/month

Piano Bar schedule (subject to change - see below); all 5-7pm: Joe performs:

Wednesdays:
April 2015 - all
May 2015 - all

Sunday schedule:
4/5 - (dark)
4/12 - Joe
4/19 - Philip
4/26 - Joe
5/3 - Joe
5/10 - Philip
5/17 - Joe
5/24 - Philip
5/31 - Joe

note: schedule subject to change. To confirm any date, check Joe's schedule at www.joeholtsnotes.com, call 877-JOE-HOLT to hear an announcement of upcoming dates, or email Joe at joeholt@joeholtsnotes.com.


Hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Joe in Concert at First Wesylan Church in Easton, MD on 11/23/14.


On November 23, 2014 at 3pm, I am looking forward to presenting a concert at the First Wesleyan Church, 620 Goldsborough Street, in Easton, MD. My friend, Dawn Steward has arranged this, first, with her piano students in mind, but also as a general public opportunity. My solo concerts have been though an evolution of titles: From "An Evening of Piano Improvisation" to "Spontaneous Joy" to "A.D.D. Improvisation". Taking a break from the imposition (by me) of a title, I let the host of my last solo concert (St. Mark's United Methodist, also in Easton) describe it for me. Their music director titled it 'Imaginative Improvisations". That works. Whatever it is, I will be doing it soon. With the (notable) exception of the "piano bar" gig at JR's Pub in Chestertown, I am performing (particularly in concert) less solo these days, and more with others, so this will be fun (not that everything else isn't). Hope you can join me. For more info call 410-822-8038 or email stewardd87@gmail.com    

Monday, October 13, 2014

Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival weekend


On October 16. 17 and 18, I will be in Rehoboth Beach DE, doing what many local and regional musicians do: NOT performing for the Rehoboth Beach Jazz festival; not the "official" one, anyway. While the festival has gone "smooth" over recent years, with it's headliner shows, the town itself transforms into jazz central, with many restaurants featuring local/regional mainstream jazz artists and groups. On Thursday night I will be at Just in Thyme with Shore Jazz, and on Friday in the happy hour slot at the Cultured Pearl with the Mike McShane Trio featuring Vince Lardear. On Saturday, we will move over to the new festival (that competes with the long established one): the True Blue Jazz Series for the following performances: from noon to three, local high school jazz musicians will hit the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand, followed by the Eddie Sherman Show featuring Geoff Gallante. From 5 to 7, I will be at the Avenue Inn for a duo session with guitarist Ron Cole. Then I scamper off to The Cellar Door for an evening supper club show featuring Geoff. On Sunday, I will be a civilian   ;)
Looking forward to it all.

See the schedule (with more details) here 
True Blue Jazz Series info

Friday, September 5, 2014

St. Mark's Concert Series, September 26, 2014


On Sunday 9/26, at 3pm, I am privileged to kick off the concert season for the series at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, Easton, MD, performing "Imaginative Improvisations". As most of my solo concerts are in closed settings (in retirement communities and for American Cruise Lines, predominantly), I welcome this public event, and invite you to attend. It's a wonderful facility and piano on which to perform. Expect me to go eclectic; from jazz and popular standards to classic pieces/themes to ragtime/stride to improvisation demonstrations to who knows what else. And expect to have fun. 
Find more info here.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New You Tube Playlist - solo piano concert



On April 26, 2014, I was privileged to perform at the home of Dr. Randy Bellows, in a fund raising concert for the Unitarian Church of the Chester River. Randy has been a wonderful supporter and friend and most encouraging of my attempts at classical theme improvisation. The 5 selections posted in this playlist reflect the eclectic nature of this program. I feel that some nice moments were found here. I hope you'll agree. You can watch the video posts, in order, in the box above, or click here to be taken to the playlist.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Press Release - Beth McDonald and Joe Holt at The Cabaret at Germano's on 8/23/14


On Saturday August 23, at 7:30pm (dinner seating at 6pm), Beth McDonald and Joe Holt return to The Cabaret at Germano's, in Baltimore's Little Italy, for a performance of "Melody and Meaning"; a melding of classic jazz, songs of substance, and new vintage material. 
 Beth McDonald is a singer/songwriter in love with the melody and meaning of another era. Her music bridges the Great American Songbook, and the heart and spirit of the present moment. In addition to performing shows featuring her original material, she also performs with the New Legacy Jazz Band and in gospel based concerts with Joe Holt, featuring music from their newly released CD: "All Nature Sings". Beth has released 4 CDs on her own "Classic Avenue" label.
"A stunning voice that breathes life into recordings old and new, Beth McDonald is a singer to behold."  - J. Edward Sumerau - metrospirit.com
 Joe Holt is a pianist grounded in the traditions of both jazz and classical piano, performing over a broad range. He is known for his imaginitave improvisations and a joy of performing. In addition to "All Nature Sings", Joe has released a tribute CD to the late solo jazz pianist Dave McKenna, and has 8 additional releases on his own "Joe Holt's Notes" label.
"The ever tasteful Joe Holt is a soloist extrordarinare; an intense musician with terrific chops, who shows you he means business."  - Cam Miller - The American Rag.
Germano's is located at 300 S. High Street, Baltimore MD, 21202. Seating opens at 6:00pm. Tickets are $10, and can be purchased online at http://germanospiattini.com/events or seating reserved by calling 410.752.4515.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Piano Bar in Chestertown

In Chestertown, MD, there is a place to go, 2 nights a week, if you want to get away without leaving town, or close your eyes and feel like you are somewhere else, or open your eyes and feel that you are among friends, or get out of your chair and dance, or sit down and enjoy a fine dinner, or just hang and listen: the Piano Bar at JR's Past Time Pub. Actually, it's a piano room, and there's nothing like it in town, or anywhere nearby (or maybe even anywhere far away). On Wednesdays from 5-7pm, and Sundays (sharing the dates with Philip Dutton) from 6-8, the room comes to life with music, conversation, and an overall good vibe. As you can see in the picture, this is not a literal bar protruding from the back of the piano (I've played those gigs, too), rather a connection with the entire room. Partly underground, and off to the side, no one passes through here, rather it is it's own destination. Make it your destination sometime soon.  
see the piano bar schedule (on Joe's schedule blog)

Friday, May 9, 2014

New CD release: "All Nature Sings"!


Here's something really cool. And warm, too. "All Nature Sings" is the latest release on the Joe Holt's Notes label. My first CD release, back in 2000, was a collection of hymns and spiritual songs. I figured it was about time to put down a new marker on this path. This time I invited Beth McDonald to join me in a collaborative effort. She sings (beautifully) on 9 of the 14 tracks, and shared the producer chair with me (okay, sometimes she sat in it by herself, too). This recording leans harder to the gospel side than the previous one, but also contains some well loved meditative hymns, along with a few fun surprises. We will officially release this recording at Christ Methodist Church, in Chestertown MD, where Beth and I will be in concert on Sunday May 18th, at 6pm. 
Proud of this recording, and look forward to sharing it with you!
link to order form

track listing:
This Is My Father's World
Fill My Cup, Lord
Be Thou My Vision *
Just A Closer Walk With Thee
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God *
Precious Lord, Take My Hand
Have Thine Own Way
Joshua Fought the Battle Of Jericho *
I Need Thee Every Hour
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
When the Saints go Marching In *
I Surrender All
This Little Light Of Mine
Great Is Thy Faithfulness *


*solo piano

Monday, March 17, 2014

"Singing our Stories": A Beth McDonald Showcase

On Saturday, March 15th, Beth McDonald and her band (Jeff Davis and myself) returned to the Garfield Center for the Arts (Prince Theatre) in Chestertown, MD to perform "Singing Our Stories". Watch Beth perform Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, from the Garfield show:
"Beth McDonald was absolutely unbelievable!"
"Wonderful concert"
"Loved it and will go to the next one"
"It was fantastic!!!!!"
This format has become a vehicle for Beth to share her original songs, along with others that are meaningful to her. Beth began her singing career in primarily a classic jazz format, having fallen in love with the beautiful melodies and distinctive performers (such as Miss Peggy Lee) of the era when Jazz was popular music. Over the years, she has brought more of her own material into her performances, which has brought audiences and reviewers to take notice, even more so. Beth continues to perform in jazz settings, as well as presenting gospel concerts (another love of Beth's) in churches. "Singing Our Stories" is an additional path; an eclectic "many sides of Beth McDonald". The show is never the same; it evolves from one performance to the next. We will be performing "Singing Our Stories" again at The Cabaret at Germano's (another return engagement) In Baltimore, MD on Friday April 11, at 7:30pm. 

Monday, February 17, 2014


Back to posting here with a reminder of Women Helping Women; the annual fund raising concert event to support the work of Dr.Maria Boria, held at the Garfield Center for the Arts, in Chestertown This event sells out each year (and may be sold out as I type this. There were only 50 seats left as of last Wednesday) for two reasons. First, our community (kind of famously) rallies around efforts such as this. Secondly, it is a darn good show. All of the top local female artists (and a few men) assemble in one place and pour out their hearts from the stage. Each year brings memorable performances, and this year will be no exception (I am the musical director for this show, so you can trust me on that). And if you can't get a ticket (or you aren't local), you can still watch the show via live webstream. Plan on it, this Wednesday evening (2/19) at 7pm. Your heart will be warmed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival 2013


The Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival is a unique event. There is the "official" festival, and it's headline concerts (featuring "smooth jazz" artists), and then there is the rest of the town, which embraces live jazz, in all of it's glorious traditions. In restaurants and venues all over town, you will find local and regional artists that you can enjoy, usually with no cover charge. Just walk in any direction  and find something worthwhile. Or use the guide, listing all of the happenings  Something new this year is a 4 night concert jazz series, in direct competition with the "official" festival; Eddie Shernan's "True Blue" series. I will be performing on Friday night with Sherman and the gang, featuring young trumpet phenom, Geoff Gallante (always look forward to performing with Geoff). 
Here are the 6 events in which I will be participating, between Wednesday and Sunday (copied from my web schedule):

 WEDNESDAY 10/16/13: 7-10pm
Bryan Clark with the Mike McShane Trio at Hooked, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Special pre-jazz festival event. One night only.
THURSDAY 10/17/13: 6-9pm
Shore Jazz at Just in Thyme, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Join John, Mike and Joe in a Jazz Festival weekend kickoff
THURSDAY 10/17/13: 10pm-??
Mike McShane at Delaware Distilling Company, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Late Night Jam for jazz Festival opening night. Mike and Joe hold it down.
FRIDAY 10/18/13: 3:30-6:30pm
Spontaneous Invention at Delaware Distilling Company, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Swinging through JazzFest Happy Hour with Dave, Mike and Joe
FRIDAY 10/18/13: 7:30pm (dinner seating beginning at 6pm)
Eddie Sherman Show at Atlantic Sands Hotel, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Featuring Peggy Raley and Geoff Gallante. Ticket info www.eddieshermanshow.com
SATURDAY 10/19/13: 7-10pm
Spontaneous Invention at Hooked Seafood and Martini Bar, Rehoboth Beach DE
Dave Schiff's dynamic trio; perfect for Jazz Festival Saturday.


If you're in town, I will hope to see you!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Mainstay


I been given the honor of being added to the list of "Legacy" performers at the Mainstay, in Rock Hall, MD, joining Sue Matthews, Karen Somerville, and Dick Durham. This secures me one performance a year of my choosing, in addition to whatever other opportunities come my way. This year I chose to bring Beth McDonald, along with Jeff Davis (our bassist) for a special evening "Remembering George Shearing and Peggy Lee". We are really looking forward to presenting this show. We hope everyone in driving range of Rock Hall MD will reserve (410-639-9133) and come (tickets only $15). And if you can't make it, we have a web stream for the evening:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/joe-holt-beth-mcdonald-at-the-mainstay

Friday, September 13, 2013

Beth McDonald and Classic Avenue; a new (band) name, and another new venue.


Tonight, Beth McDonald and I, along with Jeff Davis debut at a(nother) new venue for us; the Caroline Country Club in Denton MD, It's an early evening, from 5 to 8pm, and we are looking forward to that. We already have a number of dates booked, and looking forward to making new friends and fans as we go. The picture above was taken last month at a favorite venue for Beth and I back in the day, but new to us performing together: Baywood Greens, in Long Neck, DE (near the beach resorts). We have one more date there, and have been promised a more generous helping of dates next season. We also are looking forward to our debut performance (as a team) at the Mainstay, in Rock Hall, MD next month. Other new venues are in the planning stages. In addition, we are very pleased to have received return invitations to all of our previous ticketed show venues. Keep in touch with my web schedule (or Beth's) as new dates are posted. And about the band; Jeff Davis and I form the core of "Classic Avenue: A destination where music has meaning, and is played from the heart." And when performing with Beth, it's all about that. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Video Promotional Playlist - Beth McDonald and Joe Holt

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As the path unfolds, new representations update the old, and point the direction in which it all goes. The Beth McDonald and Joe Holt YouTube video playlist is, for all intents and purposes our demo page; recently updated with video posting from our Germano's Cabaret show. You can click through the embedded video above, or use this link to access the Playlist page:
 http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-35lL354t2tvWfjs9p8F0JIWB2GUIQhj 
Sharing the link would be a great way to help spread the word, as we spread our wings. I will, of course, be listing all Beth's performances (along with my others) in my schedule. Or, to keep it simple, you can check in with Beth's schedule page from time to time. More dates are coming; to be posted soon. If you can make one of our dates, we'd love to see you!  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Spontaneous Invention performs for "Sunset Jazz"


"Spontaneous Invention"; Dave Schiff's free wheeling and hard swinging trio, will be performing for the kick off of the "Sunset Jazz" series, in the Salon at the Grand Opera House, in Wilmington, DE, on Wednesday, July 17, from 5:30-8:30pm. Dave will also unveil the group's new CD: "Uninhibited". Check out Dave's website, ask take advantage of this unique opportunity to see Dave perform in a setting where he truly becomes uninhibited. And look out then that happens! 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Beth McDonald and Joe - The Cabaret at Germano's, Friday July 19th, 7:30pm


On Friday, July 19, at 7:30pm, Beth McDonald and I, along with Jeff Davis on bass, will be presenting "Singing Our Stories", at the Cabaret at Germano's, 300 South High Street, Baltimore, MD. This is the same concept we performed at the Garfield Center in March, but with some new twists and turns. Germano's is a wonderful venue, located in Little Italy. The upstairs is perfectly appointed for Cabaret performances. And perfect for this show. Really looking forward to it!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Another Cruise Season Begins This Evening.



Tonight is my first performance of the season for American Cruise Lines, on board the American Glory, on the Chester River in Chestertown, MD (probably less than a straight line 1/2 mile walk from my house, save the complication of the river). Shown above is a You Tube post from the American Spirit in 2011, also on the Chester. This begins my 4th year as a walk on entertainer, from Chesapeake Bay ports. In the last 2 years, the company has added routes in Alaska, and on the Misissippi, and has shifted resources and emphasis a bit. The American Spirit, shown above, was transferred to Alaska last year, as routes are expanded there, as well as down South. Although there are fewer cruises scheduled in my part of the country, still, wonderful opportunities to meet new friends, enjoy the nice surroundings  and make the connections I do. Grateful for it. Looking forward to tonight.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Beth McDonald's New Single - "When the Water Falls"

Beth McDonald recently released her first single: "When the Water Falls". This may imply that she is new to this game, however, she has already self-released 4 physical CDs, beginning in 2006. The digital age has taken us to the point where those of us who remember our collection of 45's (I still have mine) can live that again, and those too young for that can just ignore the reference. But everyone can and should download Beth's new single. More will be coming, down the road. And you will be seeing and hearing more of Beth. I am pleased to be working with her, as the corner turns on her path.
 
 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Playlist: "Singing Our Stories" concert promo


The Women Helping Women concert, on Feb 20th, at the Garfirld Center for the Arts, provided Beth Mcdonald and I each the opportunity to post a video which shines light on our new concert concept: "Singing Our Stories". We will be performing, along with Mike McShane (drums) and Jeff Davis (bass) at the Garfield Center on Saturday March 9th at 8pm. Reservations are suggested. Click here for the playlist page, and share it with your friends. Hope to see you!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Singing Our Stories - at the Garfield Center for the Arts - March 9, 2013


Beth McDonald and I are debuting a new concert concept at the Garfield Canter for the Arts, in Chestertown, MD, on Saturday , March 9, 2012, at 8pm.: "Singing Our Stories". This is Beth's first concert which puts her out there primarily as a singer/songwriter (which she primarily is). This is also the (beginning of the) public realization of the many hours Beth and I have spent in her office/studio working on giving voice to (some of) her large catalog of songs. Many of these are new, even since her last release of all original material. Beth's songs touch the emotions and stories of our lives, taking you to destinations you may not expect. Along with these, we will have additional fun as Beth sings some of her favorites, and we frolic in some instrumental jazz, joined by Jeff Davis (bass, and Mike McShane (drums). The Garfield Center (formerly the Prince Theatre) is a warm and familiar venue for us, and a home base of sorts for me. We know we will be among friends that evening. Join us!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Joe returns to Melwood Church of the Nazarene - 2/24/13


I am delighted to return to the Melwood Church of the Nazarene, in Upper Marlboro, MD, on Sunday February 24th, and 10:45 am for a concert presentation in their morning service. Honestly, I've lost track of how many times I've performed for Melwood Church, at the invitation of Pastor John Nielson. Grateful for each opportunity.  

Women Helping Women 2013


This year, I will return to (and remain in) a support role that I love to play, as musical director/accompanist for the Garfield Center's annual Women Helping Women benefit concert. This event, which sells out most every year, features all of the local female performers (and a few guys, sometimes) who put on a great show for a great cause. The video above is Melissa McGlynn's performance in 2010 (I had fun with that). You should come, support a worthy effort, enjoy a wonderful evening, and reserve now!  

CD Review - "In the Spirit of Dave McKenna" - All About Jazz


I'm very pleased that C. Michael Bailey; jazz reviewer for allaboutjazz.com agreed to listen to, and share some thoughts about "In the Spirit of Dave McKenna". Here is the review content:

"The late Dave McKenna (1930-2008) belonged to a group of pianists that include Ralph Sutton (1922-2001), Dick Wellstood (1927-1987) and the very much alive Dick Hyman. These are durable, traditional jazz pianists, well-versed in stride, with enormous genre and technical vocabularies. McKenna recorded many enjoyable discs for the Concord and Arbors labels anddeserves the acknowledgement Joe Holt gives him on In The Spirit of Dave McKenna.
Holt, a native of Chestertown, MD, is a music educator and therapist. His approach is reverent without rank imitation. On "C Jam Blues," Holt demonstrates a sure left hand, like McKenna's, walking all over the place. Holt enjoys peppering his performances with quotes from other music, deftly interpolating a bit of Jeremiah Clark's Trumpet Voluntary into "Pick Yourself Up" while seasoning "Sweet Georgia Brown" with a heap o' blues. "These Foolish Things" demonstrates Holt's command of the ballad, while a lengthy "Fly Me To The Moon" extracts all of that composition's counterpoint in a waltz setting.
But, it is the up-tempo burners like "C Jam Blues," the slow simmering "Hello My Baby" and novelty tunes including "Easter Parade" that show Holt's—and by extension McKenna's—deep talent for both song selection and interpretation. This is jazz music that will never go out of fashion because of its secure place in the mainstream. Holt reveals his talent as thoughtfully as he treats the musical corpus of this homage's object.
Track Listing: I've Got Rhythm; Pick Yourself Up; Ain't Misbehavin'; Sweet Georgia Brown; These Foolish Things; C Jam Blues; Hello My Baby; Fly Me to the Moon; Tenderly; Nice Work If You Can Get It; Surrey With the Fringe On Top; S'wonderful; Easter Parade; Where Is Love?; Get Me to the Church On Time."
Though, at this point, I'm seeing all that has fallen short in my performance, and am focsed on raising the bar in the next release, it is gratifying to see that this effort is, indeed, making the statement I intended.