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The Frank Varela Quartet with Carl Knox

August 10, 2018 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm EDT

For a long time, Frank’s dazzled audiences with his guitar-strumming prowess. Recently, he’s developed his solo game by adding what he calls “foot bass,” which is sure to amaze you on a level beyond the standards of jazz. It’s an instrument he plays with his feet! Frank has honed his skill to the point where he can play both bass and guitar at the same time – something only a skilled few can boast.

Frank is an accomplished player, as well as composer. Over the years, he’s performed and recorded with such greats as Jimmy McGriff, Max Roach, Tony Trischka, Bill Keith and Windham Hill grammy winner, violinist, Darol Anger. The nationally renowned “Jazz Improv” Magazine has reviewed him favorably in the past; additionally, Frank’s published six CD’s of his own compositions. His most recent original is entitled “Grandma’s Revenge,” and you can listen to it on Spotify, You Tube or download via iTunes. The video below is a piece from this collection! 

Frank Varela continues to mentor guitarists and has taught beginner to advanced guitar and music theory for over twenty-five years.


Carl Cox is an accomplished talent straight from the heart of Connecticut – literally!

Carl W. Knox was born in Los Angeles, California, and lived on the west coast until his early teens. After moving to the Midwest he received the Bachelor of Arts degree from William Penn College (currently William Penn University), a small Quaker school in Oskaloosa, Iowa, noted for its distinguished jazz studies program. In 1981, while at William Penn, he was awarded the Outstanding Soloist Award at the prestigious Elmhurst Jazz Festival.

Following graduation from Penn, Dr. Knox accepted a teaching assistantship at Northeast Missouri State University (currently Truman State University) and taught saxophone and clarinet and directed the jazz combos. As a member of the NMSU jazz program he won Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Musician awards at the 1983 and 1984 Wichita Jazz Festivals and the 1984 Kansas City Jazz Festival. In addition, he appeared as guest soloist with both the NMSU Wind Symphony and Orchestra. After attaining his Master of Arts degree from NMSU in 1984, Dr. Knox moved to St. Louis and began a teaching and performing career that lasted until he began his doctoral studies at Michigan State University in 1993. Among his teaching appointments in St. Louis were the Saint Louis Conservatory and Schools for the Arts where he taught saxophone and clarinet, and St. Louis Community College, where he taught jazz improvisation, saxophone, clarinet, and directed the jazz ensemble. Dr. Knox’s performance career included numerous appearances with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra on both clarinet and saxophone, and countless jazz concerts and tours with famed jazz artists including: Doc Severinsen, Toshiko Akiyoshi and Lew Tabackin, Bobby Shew, Louis Bellson, Clark Terry, Rob McConnell, Jon Faddis, Marshall Royal, and Snooky Young. Carl also performed regularly with the St. Louis Jazz Orchestra, the River City Saxes, and his own group, The Carl Knox Quartet, which was featured at The Riverfront Jazz Festival.

From 1994-1996 Carl was a teaching assistant in the Department of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University where he was a student of Joseph Lulloff, James Forger, Andrew Speight and Branford Marsalis. While in Michigan, Dr. Knox played with many major touring shows in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Detroit and performed or toured with jazz artists and groups including: Mel Torme, Jimmy Heath, Milt Hinton, Marcus Belgrave, Benny Carter, Branford Marsalis and The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. In addition, Carl served on the faculty of The Clark Terry Summer Jazz Institute, and performed in Clark Terry’s “BIG BAD BAND.”

Dr. Knox currently serves as Director of Jazz Studies and teaches Applied Saxophone at CCSU where he directs the highly acclaimed CCSU Jazz Ensemble and teaches a variety of courses, including jazz history, jazz improvisation, woodwind methods, and jazz history and chronology. Dr. Knox has been awarded a sabbatical for Fall 2011 at which time his focus will be composing music for the CCSU Jazz Ensemble.

This piece gives a flavorful taste of the Quartet’s silky-smooth style:


August 10, 2018
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm EDT