Jazz and Roots Festival


Sunday, Oct 17


4:30 pm


The Lawn at Enlow Hall



Jazz and Roots Festival

Kean University and internationally-acclaimed bassist/producer Mike Griot present the inaugural Jazz & Roots Music Festival, a free outdoor music event open to the public on The Lawn at Enlow Hall in Hillside.

  • Free Outdoor Concert
  • Live Music
  • Food Trucks


For more information, email alumni@kean.edu.


  • 4:30 p.m. – Festival begins
  • 5:15 p.m. – JSWISS, featuring Casey Benjamin & Mark Whitfield
  • 6:00 p.m. – Dave Stryker Quartet
  • 7:00 p.m. – Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Latin Experience

JSWISS, featuring Casey Benjamin & Mark Whitfield
@ 5:15 PM

Rap and hip-hop artist JSWISS will share his infectious brand of hip-hop, combining lyrical prowess and adept flow.

When accomplished rap artist JSWISS is on the mic you can count on three things: inspiring messages, sharp wordplay, and an energy that moves the crowd. The Dobbs Ferry, NY native is also one of the most versatile lyricists out today and a favorite collaborator of standout bands and musicians at the intersection of hip-hop, soul and jazz, leading Soultracks to dub him “one of the most creative voices in the game these days”.  Accomplished talents like Maurice “Mobetta” Brown, Ben Williams, Marcus Strickland, Nicholas Payton, E.J. Strickland, Marcus Machado, Daru Jones, Chris “Daddy” Dave,  Mark Whitfield, Amina Figarova and more, have tapped JSWISS when they seek a lyricist who can effortlessly fall in where most MCs can’t.  

JSWISS‘ most recent feel-good singles “Beautiful Morning” with Paul Bloom, “Better” with Marcus Machado and U’Nique Music, and “Once Again” with Mark Whitfield and Ben Williams display his trademark storytelling, wordplay, musicianship, and inspiring messaging.



The Dave Stryker Quartet
@ 6:00 PM

The Dave Stryker Quartet performs original music and their own intricate and nuanced interpretations of jazz and R&B classics.

Whether you’ve heard guitarist Dave Stryker fronting his own group (with 32 CD’s as a leader to date), or as a featured sideman with, Stanley Turrentine and Jack McDuff, you know why Gary Giddins in the Village Voice called him “one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years.” 

Dave has been on a roll the last several years with all the recordings (on his label Strikezone Records) reaching the Top 10 and higher. “Blue Soul” Dave’s latest, recorded with Bob Mintzer and the WDR Big Band in Cologne Germany recently hit #1 for 3 weeks. His previous CD “Eight Track III” stayed at #1 on the JazzWeek Radio Chart for 6 straight weeks and received 4 stars in Downbeat. Hot House magazine awarded Dave the Best Guitarist Fans Decision for 2017. He was recently voted once again as one of the top Jazz Guitarists in the 2019 Downbeat Critics and Readers Polls. 

Stryker grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, moved to New York City in 1980, and joined organist Jack McDuff’s group (1984-85). From 1986 to 1995, Stryker played with tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. He has also performed with Freddie Hubbard, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Smith, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jimmy Heath, Kevin Mahogany, Steve Slagle and many others. 

Dave is an Adjunct Professor of Jazz Guitar at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. Dave recently launched his online teaching school at www.artistworks.com. His book “Dave Stryker’s Jazz Guitar Improvisation Method Vol III” is available on his website at www.davestryker.com.


The Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Latin Experience
@ 7:00 PM

Led by Dizzy Gillespie’s long-term bassist John Lee, the Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Latin Experience performs songs made famous by the legendary trumpeter.

History has produced its share of great artists and great people— John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was both. 

 As a performer, he left behind an incredible record of innovation and inspiration.  As a composer, a broad repository of musical masterpieces, and as a man,  a legion of friends, colleagues and compatriots who remember him with the same degree of love and esteem, they reserve for his work.  

The Afro-Latin Experience showcases Dizzy Gillespie’s love of world music,  which he successfully fused with jazz during his entire career. His vast repertoire includes compositions that were inspired by his love of the African, Argentinian,  Brazilian, Caribbean, Cuban, and Spanish music cultures.  

Dizzy’s fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with jazz was groundbreaking.  The well-loved melodies of “Manteca” and “Tin Tin Deo” are an important part of the jazz vernacular. Dizzy also composed vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s smash afro-Cuban hit “Soul Sauce”

The ensemble features Dizzy Gillespie’s longtime bassist, musical director  John Lee, Dizzy’s former drummer Tommy Campbell, Freddie Hendrix on trumpet & flugelhorn, Sharel Cassity on Alto saxophone & flute, Abelita Mateus on piano & vocals, and Roger Squitero on congas, bongos, and percussion. 

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Event Info

Jazz and Roots Festival
Sunday, Oct 17
4:30 pm
The Lawn at Enlow Hall
New Date
Sunday, Oct 17

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