That’s Jon Batiste’s bet. The 27-year-old keyboardist and vocalist is steeped in the jazz and rhythm-and-blues traditions of New Orleans (he grew up in a musical family in Kenner, a Crescent City suburb) and though he now lives in New York, he’s trying to create a kind of music that melds traditions like the second line to a more modern sound.

But Batiste’s approach is as much about presentation as it is about the actual melodies and rhythms he plays. As he explained to an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival, presented by The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute, on Tuesday, he tries to take music to new audiences with what he calls “love riots”: He and his band will stage concerts—sometimes impromptu, sometimes only quietly promoted—in unconventional settings like subway stations, street corners, and restaurants. He offered a tiny taste, moving through the audience with a melodica, singing and interacting with members.

(Full Story via The Atlantic)

The Jazz Institute, presented in partnership with the Pennsylvania Jazz Alliance, will offer an opportunity for local musicians of all ages to study and perform with several of Northeast Pennsylvania’s and New York’s finest touring and recording jazz artists. Participants will gain experience in the varied styles of music they will create and perform in their future musical careers. Following the week-long educational event, participants will perform as a group at the Scranton Jazz Festival on August 8-10 in downtown Scranton. Participants of this year’s Jazz Institute will have the option of residing on Keystone’s campus during the weeklong program.  (Full Story)

The Deer Head Inn
Our historic venue, The Deer Head Inn.

There is live music 4 to 5 nights a week at The Deer Head Inn.  Check out our  ‘Gigs’  page for upcoming shows.

The Inn is a four-story hotel with 8 tasetfully decorated rooms and 2 suites, each with a private bath with the  restaurant, bar and jazz club located on the first floor.

Lodging is available 7 days a week, live music Thursday through Sunday and Big Band the last Monday of every month.  Breakfast at The Morning Cure, here at the Deer Head Inn, is served Saturdays and Sundays.

You can find out more about the hotel, restaurant and venue here.

Check out some upcoming gigs on our ‘Gigs’ page and come hear some music!

A nice article from NPR about one jazz fans first 5 records.

I’m old, so my earliest experiences buying music involve going to record stores in the Washington, D.C., area to pick up LPs. I frequented The Turntable near my home and the Soul Shack downtown. But, more often than not, I found myself browsing the bins in a store just south of Dupont Circle called Discount Records and Books. 

I was buying folk, blues and rock, mostly. I’ll never forget standing at the register, proudly holding my copy of The Mothers of Invention’s We’re Only in It for the Money — the one with the inside-out parody cover of Sgt. Pepper’s with the Mothers in dresses. I looked over my shoulder to meet the gaze of an older patron, whose scornful glare could have peeled paint.

The store had a great staff; they were the best teachers for a young music fan like me. I talked regularly with all of them, especially Rusty Bogart, who would discuss the latest country blues reissues from Yazoo and Biograph. Then, one day, I decided I needed to learn about jazz, so I approached Thomas Paul, whom everyone called TP. He was a big guy with a medium ‘fro. As I recall, when I asked to be enlightened, he thought for just a moment before he started pulling records. He had a sense of what I liked in other music, and he knew what I should hear.

These were not academic choices intended to educate me about the history of the music. There was no Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington — these were TP’s personal choices. This was the music that leaped first to his mind, the stuff he really wanted me to hear: Bird and Diz,Two Hours With Thelonious, Charles Mingus’ Better Get It in Your Soul and Live at the Five Spot, Vol. 1 by Eric Dolphy and Booker Little.

 (Read the full article on


Najwa Parkins is a vocalist, educator, composer, and lyricist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  She holds a Bachelors degree from the Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance.  A versatile artist, Najwa is the band leader for her own jazz quartet, Najwa Parkins and the After Hours Trio as well as a member of Phil Woods and the Festival Orchestra, prohibition era andgypsy jazz quartet, Hot Bijouxx, and the award winning children’s music group, Alex and the
Kaleidoscope Band,. Najwa released her debut album, Not the Next Someone Else, in 2011. In
2013, she toured with the American repertory theater company, Mad River Theater Works. As an
actress, vocalist, and trombonist in the play, Najwa originated the lead character in the
company’s original production of The Pasture. Najwa has shared the stage with a wide array of
artists including Benny Golson, Larry McKenna, Bob Dorough, Nellie McKay, Nicholas Payton,
Phil Woods and Branford Marsalis. She has performed in various schools, performance venues,
and festivals in the United States and Europe including, but not limited to, the Levitt Pavilion
Pasadena, The Kimmel Center, ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, the Detroit Jazz Festival, the
Hague Jazz Festival, The COTA Jazz Festival, the Barnes Foundation, the Deer Head Inn, The
African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Twin City Opera House, The Philadelphia
Museum of Art, and Historic Hotel Bethlehem. Najwa is the featured vocalist on the 2013
release, New Celebration, by Phil Woods and the Festival Orchestra. She can be seen and heard
on the brand new television show, Alex and the Kaleidoscope, which premiered in March 2014.
As an artist and performer, Najwa believes in the importance of connecting with the audience by
telling stories through music. She draws on life experiences in writing her own music and lyrics
as well as in interpreting the music and lyrics of others.

Larry McKenna’s national reputation as both a masterful jazz improviser in the be-bop and modern jazz styles of the 1950s and 1960s and an influential jazz educator is firmly established after five decades in his profession.  His composing, songwriting and arranging skills will soon be more widely known with the release of his new CD.  “Larry McKenna From All Sides” showcases eight original works arranged and performed by him with several other premier jazz artists, including four new songs with lyrics by Melissa Gilstrap, interpreted by the wonderful vocalist Joanna Pascale.Larry McKenna is known for his gorgeous, velvety tenor saxophone sound, the unparalleled beauty of his balladry, and his fluid, bebop-inspired improvisations.  For years, Larry’s status as a jazz great has been affirmed by his myriad fans and the jazz stars with whom he has played and recorded including Woody Herman, Clark Terry, Buddy DeFranco, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra.Larry is also esteemed in the classical music world.  In 2011 the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra showcased him as a soloist in three concerts, performing movements from an arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “Nutcracker Suite.” Since 2002 he also has been a featured artist with PhilOrk Jazz, a group formed by members of The Philadelphia Orchestra which features guest artists chosen from the highest ranks of the Philadelphia jazz scene.Larry is one of the most sought-out saxophone and jazz theory teachers in Philadelphia.  He has taught countless students at University of the Arts, Temple University School of Music, West Chester University, Widener University, and Community College of Philadelphia.  Many of his students have pursued successful careers in music.  Larry’s influence, spanning decades, can be said to have established a Larry McKenna school of saxophone playing in the Philadelphia region.In recognition of his extensive contributions to the jazz world, in 2012 Larry was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in jazz performance and education from the University of the Arts; the Jazz Master Award from the Media, Pennsylvania Business Authority; and the Making A Difference Award from The Jazz Bridge Project, a nonprofit organization serving Philadelphia-area jazz and blues musicians in crisis.In addition to being a frequent guest on recordings by other top jazz players, Larry has released three other CDs under his own name to widespread critical acclaim.  His last CD, “Profile” (Dreambox Media 2009), mixes jazz standards with Larry’s original compositions, including the lovely and poignant ballad “Perhaps This Wintertime” with lyrics by Melissa Gilstrap.  Premiered on the CD by vocalist Nancy Reed, this ballad was critically praised as “destined to become a new standard” and subsequently performed and recorded by other internationally known vocalists.  Larry’s earlier CDs, “It Might As Well Be Spring” (Dreambox Media 2001) and “My Shining Hour – Music of Harold Arlen” (EPE Records 1995), received praise from jazz critics across the United States and Canada and remain in demand.Music arranged by Larry McKenna has been performed on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson and in the Nicholas Cage movie “Birdy,” in which Larry played and appeared.  He has published many jazz-oriented arrangements for school concert bands which can be purchased from Northeastern Music Publications.  Larry resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with three cats (the feline variety).

More Info:
Music 7 to 11 pm. Music charge $12/$6 after 9:30 Najwa, vocals; Larry McKenna, saxophone; Skip Wilkins, piano; Evan Gregor, bass; Tom Whaley, drums.

Deer Head Records is set to launch in July of 2014.  Please check back with us and bookmark the site.  We have 2 amazing albums for purchase.

Nancy Reed & John Coates, Jr. – Live at the Deer Head Inn

The Guitar Trio of Bucky Pizzarelli, Ed Laub & Walt Bibinger  – Live at the Deer Head Inn

You can always come to the Deer Head Inn, our venue and hear some great music.  See you soon!