"A Lot of Energy" -- The Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival

Three days of fun and music: Gigs unite fans, students, faculty, alumni, guest artists

April 15, 2014

Hundreds of jazz fans; dozens of outstanding student, faculty and alumni musicians; two headliner jazz groups. It's the annual Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival. This year's festival, April 10-12, featured the Aaron Diehl Quartet and Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, along with the Knox Jazz Ensemble, Alumni Big Band and Faculty and Friends Combo, in performances at the Orpheum Theatre, McGillacuddy's Restaurant and the Galesburg Public Library.

"It was overwhelming to see such a cross-section of our vibrant and diverse community having a crazy good time," said Nikki Malley '98, assistant professor of music and director of the Jazz Program at Knox.

The Aaron Diehl Quartet
The Aaron Diehl Quartet performed in Galesburg's Orpheum Theatre and held a master class for Knox students.


Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble
The Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble performed at McGillacuddy's in Galesburg and in a special show for kids at the Galesburg Public Library.


Knox Jazz Ensemble
The Knox Jazz Ensemble, directed by Nikki Malley, opened for the Aaron Diehl Quartet at the Saturday night show at the Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg.


Knox Faculty and Friends Combo
The Knox Faculty and Friends Combo performs Thursday night at McGillacuddy's in Galesburg, including Dave Hoffman and Todd Kelly, trumpet; Kevin Hart and Michael Stryker, piano; Jason Brannon, drums; Andy Crawford, bass; John Miller, guitar; Kevin Malley and Larry Harms, saxophone; Kevin Hart and Nikki Malley, vibes.


Knox Alumni Big Band
The Knox Alumni Band "sounds pretty darn good, considering they've only had an hour of practice," said Justin Haynes '04, director and guitarist, following the 20-member group's concert at McGillacuddy's on Friday. "The older we get, this gig stays the same, still my favorite hour of the year," said saxophonist Kevin Malley '98. "Not a lot of practice, but a lot of energy. A lot of raw energy. It's the rawest energy I do all year long."

Bass player Oliver Horton '12 traveled to this year's festival from New Hampshire, where he teaches music. "It's really great. A bunch of people getting together to play music. It's not the most polished thing, but everybody is having a great time. Really good vibes all over the place."

More photos from the 2014 Knox Rootabaga Jazz Festival. Full-screen, credits and captions available in a set at the Knox College Flickr channel