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
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:

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


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: 
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 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.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"In the Spirit of Dave McKenna" CD review - Chestertown Spy

The first review is in on my latest CD release: "In the Spirit of Dave McKenna". It recently came on line in the Chestertown Spy (our local e-newspaper). This actually was a bit of a dance for the publication, as I am now writing CD reviews for them. For my project, the Spy tapped Jeff Davis (one of their contributing writers). who kindly wrote:

 Music is one of the universal languages. Most languages include a developed vocabulary to convey information and express ideas. A good vocabulary thickens the plot to the story teller’s yarn. Jazz pianist Joe Holt’s latest solo release, “In the Spirit of Dave McKenna” is a pleasing plethora of usage and depth of that vocabulary, to which Joe masterfully adds a couple words of his own.
Admittedly, even though I am an avid listener of jazz, I am not overly familiar with the work of Dave McKenna, to whom Joe attributes his inspiration for this release. In hearing McKenna for the first time as a teenager, Holt recalls, “I remember the performance vividly. It was one of those moments in life when I grew in understanding what was possible.”
As the title implies “In the Spirit of…” is brimming with clever left-hand walking-bass lines, rhythmic play, and chord changes reminiscent of McKenna’s solo jazz-piano style. However, the story told through these fifteen standards is pure Joe Holt. There is a comforting familiarity surrounding each tune, which gives way effortlessly to Joe’s sweeping sensibility of the jazz vocabulary of both past and present times. Holt weaves a playful tale indeed… there is plot, there is action, there is comic relief, some sentimentality, but mostly there is the evidence of an incredible inner dialog happening as Joe transcends the possibilities from popular tune to improvisational music. Joe is taking us on a magnificent journey here.
You may find yourself reminiscing as you listen; recalling impressions you have of these works, but not getting lost in their nostalgia as Joe’s musical expression elevates — giving new meaning to each tune. (Which is a very good thing as this listener believes nostalgia, no matter how sweet, is merely a distraction from seizing the moment.)
“In the Spirit of Dave McKenna” opens with a wonderfully uplifting and spirited interpretation of the Gershwin tune “I’ve got Rhythm,” which sets the pace for the rest of the journey. You can learn more about Joe and his other releases, or give a listen. (Link to:

See the actual review here: