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Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival Will Be April 10-14

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Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival Will Be April 10-14

March 16, 2018

Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival Will Be April 10-14

The 38th annual Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival continues its commitment to bringing world-class jazz to the area, with this year's event taking place from April 10-14. The music extravaganza will include guest performers Greg Ward & 10 Tongues and Matt Ulery's Loom with the Knox-Galesburg Symphony String Quartet, as well as performances by the Knox Alumni Big Band, Faculty and Friends Combo, and the Knox Jazz Ensemble.

Saxophonist and composer Greg Ward is widely acknowledged as one of the most versatile and innovative young artists on the scene. A seasoned performer of jazz, free, experimental, gospel, funk, rock and hip-hop, he steps seamlessly between genres. Ward will lead the Rootabaga school tour early in the week, and his Rootabaga Festival performance will feature compositions from his most recent and highly acclaimed album, Touch My Beloved's Thought, composed for 10-piece ensemble and inspired by Charles Mingus' album, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady.

Chicago-based bassist, composer and bandleader Matt Ulery has developed an instantly recognizable and distinctive sound that is experimental, inviting, and accessible. Ulery's music, from small, diverse chamber ensembles to full orchestras, is informed by a broad spectrum of genres including jazz, classical, rock, pop, and folk (specifically American, South American, Balkan and European). His Rootabaga performance will feature his quintet, Loom, with the Knox-Galesburg Symphony String Quartet.

Earlier this year, the National Endowment for the Arts approved a $10,000 Challenge America grant for the Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival. The Challenge America category features NEA support for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

"It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to the Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. "At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring."

The Rootabaga Jazz Festival represents a unique partnership among Knox College, the Galesburg community, and local music and arts supporters. The festival focuses on collaborations between guest artists and students, and performances in various venues around the community, such as local schools and libraries. 

Learn more about this year's Rootabaga Jazz Festival and purchase tickets at www.knox.edu/jazzyear. The Festival Pass is $30 per person and includes access to all events and mezzanine seats at the Orpheum Theatre. Individual tickets may also be purchased at the door. The full festival schedule is below.

The Rootabaga Jazz Festival is part of the Knox Jazz Year, which also includes two other annual events. The Jerome Mirza Jazz Residency brings world-renowned jazz artists to campus for a week of intensive and collaborative jazz activities with students, culminating in a free public concert. The Knox Winter Jazz series showcases global artists with diverse cultural perspectives for a free concert and one-on-one experiential programming with Knox students and the Galesburg community.

(Photos above: Greg Ward, left, and Matt Ulery. Photos below: Highlights of the 2017 Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival)

Rootabaga Jazz Festival Schedule

April 10, 2018

Rootabaga Jazz School Tour Concert featuring Greg Ward
Knoxville High School
6:00 p.m.
Presented in conjunction with the Knoxville Community Dinner
Free and open to the public

On April 10-11, the ensemble will be touring area schools performing educational convocations for students at Nielsen Elementary, Silas Willard, Steele Elementary, Gale Elementary, King Elementary, and Knoxville High School. This April 10 public concert will give community members a chance to hear what students are experiencing during the tour.

April 12, 2018

Faculty and Friends Combo
Fat Fish Pub, 158 N. Broad St., Galesburg
8:00 p.m.-Midnight
Admission: $5

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

April 13, 2018

Galesburg High School Jazz Band
7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Knox Alumni Big Band
8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Greg Ward & 10 Tongues
9:30-midnight
Fat Fish Pub, 158 N. Broad St., Galesburg
Admission: $10

April 14, 2018

Rootabaga Kids: Greg Ward & 10 Tongues
Galesburg Public Library
10:00 a.m.
Free and open to the public

This family-friendly event features the critically acclaimed 10-piece band based in Chicago, Greg Ward and 10 Tongues. 


Matt Ulery's Loom with The KGS String Quartet
Orpheum Theatre, 57 S. Kellogg St., Galesburg
5:00 p.m.
Free floor & balcony seats • $20 reserved mezzanine

In addition to performances by Matt Ulery's Loom with the Knox-Galesburg Symphony String Quartet, the Knox Jazz Ensemble will also perform the world premiere of "Left Window," an original commissioned composition by Ulery.

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Printed on Sunday, July 22, 2018