Phil Woods and the Cota Festival Orchestra: "Library Alive"

Phil Woods and the Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts (COTA) Festival Orchestra will launch a new concert series, “Library Alive," on Sunday, April 13, at 4:00 p.m. at the Sherman Theater in downtown Stroudsburg.

Featuring NEA Jazz Master Woods, the Grammy-nominated orchestra will perform music selected from the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection (ACMJC) of East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU). The series is a unique collaboration among three local organizations: ACMJC/ESU, COTA and the Sherman Theater.

Dedicated to preserving all forms of jazz from all eras, the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection was founded in 1988 to honor the life and legacy of Al Cohn--legendary saxophonist, arranger, composer and conductor and long-time Pocono resident. The collection is housed in Kemp Library on the ESU campus and consists of jazz recordings, oral histories, sheet music, photographs, books, videos, and original art and memorabilia, all generously donated over the years by supporters from around the world. Included in the collection are a good number of big band arrangements and compositions by Al Cohn for such band leaders as Woody Herman, Terry Gibbs and Elliot Lawrence. In addition to Cohn's works, the ACMJC also includes music by such jazz greats as Gerry Mulligan, Oliver Nelson, Phil Woods, Gene Roland, Nat Pierce, Bill Holman, Billy Byers, Gary McFarland, Manny Albam, Joe Newman, Bill Potts and others

The COTA Festival Orchestra has performed at the annual COTA Jazz and Arts Festival throughout its 30-year run, and has twice toured Europe as the Phil Woods Big Band. The members include: Phil Woods, Nelson Hill, Matt Vashlishan, Tom Hamilton, Jay Rattman, and Jim Buckley (saxes); Ken Brader, Danny Cahn, Eddie Severn, and Pat Dorian (trumpets); Rick Chamberlain, Kevin Haines, and Jim Daniels (trombones); Eric Doney, Evan Gregor, and Bill Goodwin (rhythm); Wolfgang Knittel (Music Coordinator). (Note: The 2008 COTA Festival dates are September 7-9; see details at

In November 2005, a celebration of Al Cohn and Zoot Sims was held at ESU, and the COTA Festival Orchestra was convened to pay tribute to these two greats of the jazz world. The response of the audience and the musicians alike was that this kind of concert should be more than a one-time event, and thus the seed for the “Library Alive" series was planted.

Eager to bring the music into the heart of the community, the Sherman Theater offered to partner this series. Built in the 1920s, the recently renovated Sherman Theater is equipped to present many of today's biggest shows. Complete with full bar and restaurant, it offers everything needed for a complete evening of entertainment. Audiences and performers alike have been awed by the fantastic accoustics, comfort, and historic feel of this rejuvenated downtown performance venue.

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