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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Well, first thing’s first….I’m back! After a long month away from a computer, I have finally re-emerged from the darkness and have seen the light of the wonderful internet. (Funny how we rely so much on technology to live our lives, huh?)

Anyway, I will get right into the next post. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Delaware Water Gap’s 32nd annual COTA Festival, or Jazzfest, as known by the locals. Each year, surrounding local musicians get together and put on a three day festival in the heart of the Poconos, right next to the beautiful Delaware River.

The great thing about this festival is that there is so much talent in it. The local jazz musicians in the Poconos are not just any musicians — many of them are known worldwide for their great musicianship and virtuosity. Take, for example, Phil Woods, famous saxophonist who has played with many known musicians. He is also the co-founder of the COTA Festival.

Or what about Bob Dorough? You may not know his name, but you’ll know his music…conjuction, junction, what’s your function? That’s right. He wrote all the music for Schoolhouse Rock. And what a great performer he is!

Dave Leibman hits a high note at the COTA Festival. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Dave Leibman hits a high note at the COTA Festival. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

And I also want to mention Dave Leibman, a very talented, often obscure jazz saxophonist who played with many performers throughout the festival.

Perhaps two of the most interesting performances came from a local drummer named Bill Goodwin and a well-known singer named Nellie McKay. Bill Goodwin and his group performed several interesting Thelonius Monk songs, while Nellie McKay danced and dazzled her audience with her cute singing and daydreamy lyrics.

While all that music was happening, local artists gathered their best works and put them on display in tents just outside the stage area. There were photos from previous years at the festival, beautiful pieces of handmade jewelry, and even lamps made out of antique instruments. If you got tired of sitting on the hillside, you could just wander down the street to the artisans and check out their goodies.

And the food — oh! The falafel sandwiches, ice cream, and black beans with chicken and rice. Mmmm.

All in all, this year’s festival was a musical success. It may be slowly losing money, but jazz lovers in the Pocono Mountains will never let this festival die. Thanks to all the contributors throughout all three days!

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