Swinging Again

Deerhead What to cue up as we write this piece? How about Etta James singing "At Last."

The Deer Head Inn has been sold.

That great white elephant of a jazz club in Delaware Gap, Pa. is now the love labor of four locals who together possess two qualities that give some hope for fans of serious playing in the Poconos.

They love music, and they are good with their hands.

New owners Dennis Carrig, Robert Mancuso and Jason Wilson each have worked at the club, from bartending to waitering to carpentry to painting. Mary Carrig's speciality is marketing and merchandizing. They plan to keep the jazz going, and to continue to serve dinner. They're looking to renovate the Civil War era building and accommodate lodgers again. "We've got a good year of work ahead of us," said co-owner Mancuso, a contractor, by phone Wednesday.

Sunday, Oct. 16, the new deal begins with a Jazz Lunch featuring Nancy and Spencer Reed from noon to 4 p.m.

Dona and Chris Solliday owned the Dear Head, buying it from her parents in 1992. Her folks ran it when it was the place for late-night jams after shows at the big Pocono resorts. Keith Jarrett, who used to be a house pianist, recorded a famous CD there. The picture above is of the album jacket. Stan Getz, Pat Metheny, Rex Stewart, Lee Konitz and Jackie Gleason each sat in there. Over the years local luminaries such as Bob Dorough, Dave Liebman, Phil Woods, Al Cohn, John Coates Jr., and Urbie Green have all been regulars.

Mancuso says they'll fix up 10 guest rooms in the old hotel with new furniture, sparkling bathrooms and even air conditioning.

Posted 10/20/2005 04:55:15 AM

Finally a positive post.Thank god for jazz and thoughtful music.The abrasivmess of the more current music mirrors society(and myself);yet the older music approachces art in its discipline and form.I wish I could be the walls of the Deer Head.About 10 same instrument heroes of mine have played there not to mention piano,bass,drum etc.Keep the Deerhead alive