The Jazz House has been a Knox institution since 1997. It is founded on the principles that those who live together make better music together, and that there are no requirements to appreciate the art of jazz music. Therefore, its purpose is both internal and external.
Internally, the Jazz House is one reason for the strength of the Knox jazz program. About half of the Knox Jazz Ensemble lives in the house each year. This number usually includes most of the award-winning Cherry Street Combo members, as well as members of the other four combos. Organizationally, the Jazz House provides a meeting place for the social life of the jazz band, a headquarters for the business end of the jazz band, a rehearsal space for the compositional end of the jazz program, and a gathering place for excess musical instruments (the Jazz House contains its own piano as well as other instruments). The Jazz House also provides a living place for musicians where those who live with each other can grow as both musicians and people.
The external goal of the Jazz House is to reach out to members of the Knox and Galesburg communities, as well as to other school's jazz programs. The aim is to give people an appreciation for this truly American music. Therefore, the members of the house host open houses, a radio show, and listening and viewing sessions, as well as providing musicians for both pay and volunteer gigs on and off campus.