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Matt Wilson

Rootabaga Jazz Festival


Andrew Crawford

Managing Director, Jazz and Instrumental Programs

2 East South Street

Box K-207

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Envelopes filled with lyrics for the choir.

May 9-13, 2023 The Rootabaga Jazz Festival features the Bill Frisell Trio, the John Tate Trio and Lenard Simpson along with the Knox Alumni Big Band, the Faculty and Friends Combo, the Knox Jazz Ensemble, and area junior high and high school big bands.  

Buy Tickets or Donate to Rootabaga

Pictures from the first 40+ years of Rootabagas

Relive the 2022 Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival with Matt Wilson and his all-star band of Tia Fuller, Dawn Clement, Jeff Lederer and Ben Allison with these amazing photographs by Jeff Dunn.

May 9, 2023

Lenard Simpson and the John Tate Trio School Tour group
Knoxville High School
Free and open to the public

Saxophonist Lenard Simpson and the John Tate Trio will perform a concert as part of the Rootabaga Jazz School Tour. On Tuesday, May 9rd and Wednesday, May 10th, the group will tour seven area schools performing for elementary, junior high, and high school students.

May 10, 2023

Galesburg Junior High Big Band
ROWVA High School Big Band
Canton High School Big Band
John Tate Solo Set
Cherry St Combo
Galesburg Community Arts Center 
Admission: $3, Knox Students free with ID

May 11, 2023

Faculty and Friends Combo
Galesburg Community Arts Center 
Admission: $5, Knox Students free with ID

The Faculty and Friends performance features Knox's accomplished jazz faculty and local jazz musicians from the vibrant live music community of central Illinois.

May 12, 2023

Galesburg High School Big Band
6:00 p.m.- 7:30 p.m.

Knox Alumni Big Band 
7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

John Tate Trio ft. Lenard Simpson
8:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.

Galesburg Community Arts Center
Admission: $10/Knox Students free with ID

May 13, 2023

Rootabaga Kids: John Tate Trio ft Lenard Simpson
Galesburg Public Library
Free and open to the public

This free family friendly event promises to be a very engaging and entertaining experience for the whole family.

May 13, 2023

The Bill Frisell Trio
and the Knox Jazz Ensemble
Orpheum Theatre, 57 S. Kellogg St., Galesburg
7:00 p.m.
Free floor & balcony seats • $20 reserved mezzanine

Buy Tickets or Donate to Rootabaga

Arguable the greatest living jazz guitarist, Bill Frisell’s career as a guitarist and composer has spanned more than 40 years and many celebrated recordings, whose catalog has been cited by Downbeat as "the best recorded output of the decade."

"Frisell has had a lot of practice putting high concept into a humble package. Long hailed as one of the most distinctive and original improvising guitarists of our time, he has also earned a reputation for teasing out thematic connections with his music... There’s a reason that Jazz at Lincoln Center had him program a series called Roots of Americana." - New York Times

Reviews of Bill Frisell Trio's most recent album "Valentine"

Valentine showcases the limitless creativity, the artful spontaneity, and the intuition and trust with which Frisell, Morgan, and Royston perform their tunes. The album delivers a love letter to the tunes, to the listeners, and to the trio itself.”

—No Depression

 “On Valentine, they consistently and strikingly play as one, voices intertwined, completing phrases as if sharing a single thought… Even though the selections on Valentine hail from a range of styles the performances represent jazz playing at its most sublime.

—DownBeat (5-star “Masterpiece” rating)

“The trio is the most mysterious and clarifying format in jazz... a great jazz trio perfectly balances foreground and background. It is at once intimate and communal. Leading a trio with force and grace requires both a sturdy identity and the open-mindedness of a true collaborator. Guitarist Bill Frisell... [possesses] these qualities... Mr. Frisell as an auteur, his trio mates the perfect ensemble cast... three musicians in lockstep, moving as one.”

—Wall Street Journal

“a Frisellian mix of down-home and moody, abstract and endearingly direct… the album draws to a spirited close with touching renditions of ‘What the World Needs Now Is Love’ and ‘We Shall Overcome’.”


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Printed on Friday, March 31, 2023