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.