ESU’s Jazz Lounge Honors Phil Woods’ Music

Photo Credit/ Elizabeth Deczynski The Jazz lounge holds one of the largest jazz collections in the area and plays a variety of well-know music artists.

Elizabeth Deczynski 

Contributing Writer 

The Jazz Lounge Listening Series hosted its second session on Oct. 16 with “The Phil Woods Six” Live From The Showboat, Jazz Sextet 1976.

Many students may be unaware that our very own library is home to one of the most extensive jazz collections in the area. Every month the Jazz Program Coordinator, Dr. Matthew Vashlishan, selects a group for the listening series and invites students, the faculty and the public to take a listen.

“The main goal is just to get people aware of what jazz is and all of the different types of it,” Vashlishan said. “I think people hear jazz and immediately think it’s old people music, but I want to show them that it’s not. It’s so many different things.”

Vashlishan said that he tries to select recordings and groups that sound different from one another. He has a broad background in jazz so he knows what good recordings are.

“Our first session was a piano trio and this was a step up from that. It was a little more energetic from the first one.” Vashlishan said.

Students have reacted positively to the installment so far. Vashlishan revealed that sometimes students already in the library will walk over and inquire about the music.

“Regardless of who you are and what you like, I guarantee there is jazz out there for you,” Vashlishan said. “I try to make it as unlike school as possible. I just want people to come to hang out and listen to great jazz music.”

Phil Woods was a prominent saxophonist and composer who won 4 Grammy Awards in his lifetime and recently passed away in 2015.  

According to the official Phil Woods website, Woods resided locally in Monroe County, PA for around 40 years. He was also the founder of the Delaware Water Gap Celebration Of The Arts and a member of the Board of Directors of the Al Cohn Jazz Collection at ESU.

The Al Cohn Jazz Memorial Jazz Collection was founded in 1988 after Cohn, a well-known saxophonist, became terminally ill according to the ESU site. His friend, Ralph Hughes, suggested that the university open a jazz archive.

Today, the collection in the library houses a vast collection of jazz, including Phil Woods.

Looking for something in particular? Archivist, Elizabeth Scott, can help you navigate through all of the recordings, sheet music, oral history, photographs, books, and artwork.

The installment was held in Kemp Library’s Jazz Lounge from 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. next to the Food 4 Thought Café and was open to all.

Missed it? Don’t worry, the next session is on Nov. 2 from 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. in the Jazz Lounge and will be featuring “Thad Jones & Mel Lewis” Live at the Village Vanguard – Big Band 1967.

Dr. Vashlishan also directs the student jazz ensemble, who will be having their concert on Dec. 4. He also plays professionally with the Water Gap Jazz Orchestra who will be performing Dec. 7 at the Fine and Performing Arts Center.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the collection (or on jazz in general), please email Dr. Matthew Vashlishan at

Email Elizabeth at:

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.