Guest Posts

Jazz In The Pocono Mountains

Maybe at one time the Pocono Mountains were renowned for those heart-shaped bathtubs – a honeymoon heaven and all that – but did you know the jazz scene there is absolutely going strong and had its roots in musicians “just passing through” or straight off their NYC gigs? It’s true. And the hub of jazz in northeastern PA is stuffed in a little corner called the Delaware Water Gap. One of the littlest towns that abuts the Appalachian Trail, the Water Gap has played host to the likes of Phil Woods, John Coates Jr., Bob Dorough (“Schoolhouse Rock”), Keith Jarrett, choral phenom Fred Waring (The Pennsylvanians) and many others. The crown jewel of the scene is the Deer Head Inn where many have pulled all-nighters trading solos since the end of WWII. The annual Celebration of the Arts (early September) brings established pros and young lions to fill the air with nothing but jazz. BEST QUOTE – Recently-passed Phil Woods said of his craft: “Music is never going to go away. We need it like we need fresh air and water. Jazz is the only thing that is uncontaminated. It’s not for sale.”

By Debbie Burke

Debbie Burke is the author of The Poconos in B Flat and the upcoming Glissando: A Story of Love, Lust and Jazz (Waldorf Publishing, February 2018). She lives in northeastern Pennsylvania.

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