Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival 2014

Aaron Diehl, Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, Knox Jazz Ensemble, April 10-12

April 02, 2014

Aaron Diehl, photo by John Abbott

The 2014 Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival will feature pianist Aaron Diehl, the Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, the award-winning Knox Jazz Ensemble, and Knox College faculty and alumni jazz bands, April 10-12 in Galesburg.

Headliner for the festival, Diehl is winner of the 2013 Up-And-Coming Jazz Musician of the Year Award from the Jazz Journalist Association and was named the 2011 Cole Porter Fellow of the American Pianists Association. 

A Dedication - Cherry Street Combo CD cover

On Thursday, April 10, the Knox Faculty and Friends Combo will perform at 8 p.m. at McGillacuddy's in Galesburg. The performance will include a special set by the Cherry Street Combo, a student jazz quartet that released a new CD, A Dedication, this month.

The Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble and Knox College Alumni Big Band perform on Friday, April 11, at 8 p.m. at McGillacuddy's. The Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble draws on Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Nicaraguan, and other Latin American styles.

The Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble also will give a free, public performance, Rootabaga Kids: Meet the Artists, at the Galesburg Public Library at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 12.

The Aaron Diehl Quartet will perform with the Knox Jazz Ensemble, directed by Nikki Malley, at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, at the Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg.

Tickets are available at the door at each event. The Festival Pass includes access to all events for $30 in advance, a savings of up to $7 compared to individual tickets. Festival Passes and individual tickets may be purchased in advance.

The festival was initiated in 1980 at Carl Sandburg College by Galesburg residents Mona and Tom Tourlentes. It began as the Rootabaga Jazz Festival, named after Rootabaga Stories, a children's book by famed Galesburg author Carl Sandburg, who intentionally misspelled "rutabaga" for the book's title.

2014 Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival Schedule

Thursday, April 10

Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival

The Knox Faculty and Friends Combo

The Knox Faculty and Friends Combo performance is a celebration of the vibrant jazz community in central Illinois. Knox boasts a tremendously talented and renowned jazz performance faculty, and we are proud to open the festival by showcasing these outstanding musicians as well as some of the area's finest jazz artists.

Time: 8:00 p.m.-midnight
Location: McGillacuddy's Restaurant
Admission: $7 at the door, included in Festival Pass


Friday, April 11

Knox-Rootabaga Jazz FestivalKnox Alumni Big Band and CALJE (Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble)
With only one rehearsal before their festival performance, the Alumni Big Band always impresses with a spirited performance that sounds like they've been playing together for years.

Friday's featured artists, CALJE, bring together traditional Latin music from the Caribbean and South and Central America with contemporary compositions that honor the history and style of Latin music and offer an exciting new voice in contemporary Afro-Jazz.

Time: 8Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble:00-9:00 p.m. (Alumni Big Band) and 9:30 p.m.-midnight (CALJE)
Location: McGillacuddy's Restaurant
Admission: $10 at the door, included in Festival Pass




Saturday, April 12


Rootabaga Kids: Meet the Artists
Children of all ages, families, and music lovers are invited to join CALJE for a free performance and educational program that will bring the styles, traditions, and techniques of Afro-Latin jazz to life.

Time: 10:30 a.m.
Location: Galesburg Public Library, Community Room, 40 E. Simmons Street
Admission: Free


The Aaron Diehl QuartetKnox Jazz Ensemble with The Aaron Diehl Quartet
The award-winning Knox Jazz Ensemble opens the Saturday evening concert followed by festival headliners, The Aaron Diehl Quartet. Pianist Aaron Diehl was the 2011 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz of the American Pianists Association and has been hailed by the New York Times as a "revelation." Diehl's distinctive style pays homage to the jazz tradition while establishing his own original voice.

A member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet, Diehl has also performed with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, The Boston Orchestra, and numerous jazz legends and emerging stars. Diehl's quartet is reminiscent of the great modern jazz quartet in its emphasis on chamber jazz and the intricate melodic and harmonic relationships possible within the piano, vibraphone, bass, and drum ensemble setting.

Time: 5:00 p.m.
Location: Orpheum Theatre
Admission: $15-20 at the door, included in Festival Pass