Mid-Shore Arts: The Gift of Improvisation with Joe Holt


If someone asked the residents of the Mid-Shore whom they thought was a local musician or singer’s best friend, the odds are that they would respond by giving the names of the region’s most prominent music venues like the Avalon, the Garfield, or the Mainstay. But it you asked the same question to those who actually perform music, the answer would most likely be Joe Holt.

The reason is that for some twenty-five years, Joe Holt has not only played an important role in accompanying those performers, he brings out a harmonic dialogue that pushes those artists into a realm of music that would not be unattainable on their own.

This unique act of improvisation, according to Holt, is as much a exercise of listening as it is a give and take between musicians. And like all rewarding exchanges, it allows each participant the space needed to present their interpretation without losing track of where the lead performer wants to go with any given piece of music.

And while these musicians are unanimous in their belief that Joe Holt might be the most talented pianist in the Mid-Atlantic region, Holt himself suggests this he is at his best when he can ride shotgun with those he admires.

The Spy caught up with Joe at the Mainstay last month prior to one of his popular Mainstay Monday programs which pairs his improvisation skills with both local and national talents that leaves audiences spellbound as they process these conversations with this master and his friends.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Joe Holt and his performance schedule, please go here





About Dave Wheelan


Letters to Editor

  1. Philip Dutton says

    There is no more generous, selfless or fearless musician than Joe Holt. We are so fortunate that he makes his home in our community. He has pushed me time and again to step outside my comfort zone musically and I am always better for it. Thank you, Joe.

    • Philip,
      What kind words, and thank you. I appreciate our rapport and friendship. And have enjoyed watching you grow.
      Thank you for pushing and encouraging me as well.

      And Dave, thank you for your kind words and thoughtful editing. Grateful for this.


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