Delaware Water Gap, PA

Jazz Jam Thursdays at The Deer Head Inn

Paul Adam Smeltz
The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA holds a Jazz Jam that is free to the public every Thursday evening beginning at 7pm.Paparazzi Paul

The little borough of Delaware Water Gap, PA has often been referred to as “The New Orleans of the Poconos” with its French styled architecture, Sycamore trees, and being a Mecca for Jazz aficionados for decades. It’s sturdy and steep sidewalks are aligned with shops of unique and unusual items whose overall antiquated flavor is reminiscent of times that have gone by the wayside years ago while a sense of the modernity of revivalism is felt as the fascinating articles are explored by all who visit these quaint emporiums.

The musical epicenter of the town is The Deer Head Inn where the overwhelming sounds of Jazz in all of its spectrums can be heard during the weekend where those who are considered the best practitioners of the musical art form throughout the world come to play. The venue also presents special events throughout certain days of the week and their Thursday Night Jazz Jams hold special place in the souls of all who attend them.

When the hour of 7pm arrives every Thursday evening, The Bill Washer and Friends Trio take the stage in order to set a mood within each listener that only their considerable talents can manifest. Mr. Washer plays Jazz Guitar and is joined by a bass player and a drummer. Sometimes the accompanying musicians are someone that has been seen before and sometimes they are not but this variety of personnel within the band becomes a foretaste of the wondrous multifariousness that would follow as the night progresses.

It is after their set that the stage becomes even more alive at 8pm as the musically inclined come to share and explore their talents with one another. A tune that is familiar to the ensemble whose numbers fluctuate during the performances begins to play. Instruments ranging from saxophones, flutes, guitars, bongos, and more add their resonating ingredients to the delightful syncopated concoction. Soon, a magical sensation fills the room as each note transforms itself into something that is unnamable and beyond that which can be heard in the corporeal realm.

Nothing in the perception of the audience or the musicians are ever the same again as the evening draws to a close as one realizes that no one can never know what to expect to experience at the venue from one week to the next. Farewells and words of appreciation are shared and met with an anticipation for a return to the experience the following week. A contemplative quietness passes through the Inn’s entrance to the street with each visitor and accompanies their collective souls until then.

The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA was originally named the Central House when it was built in the 1840s.It became a jazz club and artistic home for jazz musicians who worked in the Pocono Mountain Resorts in the mid 20th century when it was bought by Bob and Fay Lehr. The Deer Head Inn was sold to Mary Carrig, Dennis Carrig, Robert Mancuso, and Jason Wilson in 2005. The Deer Head Inn is the oldest continuously running jazz club in the country.

The Thursday Night Jazz Jams take place at The Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA every Thursday evening beginning at 7pm with music performed by The Bill Washer and Friends Trio who serve as the house band during the event. The Jam itself begins at 8pm and all individuals with musical talent are welcomed to participate. Renowned Jazz performers and groups are presented during the weekends and patrons are charged a fee for entry. However, The Thursday Night Jazz Jams are free to the public. You can learn more about The Deer Head Inn and all it offers including accommodations and a dinner menu by exploring their website at

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Paul Adam Smeltz began his semi professional writing career as columnist writing art and social commentary for The East Stroudsburg University of PA Student Newspaper titled, "The Stroud Courier."

Stroudsburg, PA

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