“Afro Blue” Vocal Jazz Ensemble Premier vocal jazz ensemble from Howard University in Washington, D.C., winner of 12 DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards and "Top 4" contestant on NBC's "The Sing-Off," Afro Blue arrives for a dynamic performance in the Rubber City! Directed by Professor Connaitre Miller.

Tuesday, February 21

Afro Blue, was founded in the spring of 2002 by Connaitre Miller, Jazz Voice Coordinator at Howard University. Singing music similar to the styles of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, The Manhattan Transfer, and Take 6, while adding their own unique sound, this dynamic “vocal big band” has performed to wide critical acclaim. Afro Blue has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered ; reached the top four on The Sing-Off, NBC-TV’s a cappella group competition; and joined the legendary Bobby McFerrin in selections from his Grammy – nominated VOCAbuLarieS album during the 2011 D.C. Jazz Festival in what the City Paper penned “the finest concert in D.C. Jazz Festival history.”

In December 2013, Afro Blue appeared at a Christmas party given for employees at The White House and was honored to perform for President and Mrs. Obama. Following that performance, the group was honored to record an hour long Christmas special for NPR, titled An Afro Blue Christmas, hosted by Michele Norris, which aired nationally during the 2014 & 2015 holiday seasons. Afro Blue has established a continuing relationship with The John F. Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts having opened for The Manhattan Transfer and Jon Hendricks; performed with The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Pops under the direction of Marvin Hamlisch; and shared the stage with former Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz, Dr. Billy Taylor. In May 2015, Afro Blue performed with the current Artistic Director, Jason Moran, in the “Harlem Nights/U Street Lights” concert series, which celebrated the jazz connection between Harlem, NY and Washington, DC. The concert was performed at both the historic Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NY and the Kennedy Center. The past June, an Afro Blue alumni ensemble was featured in the all-star concert “A Night at the Kennedy Center: The DC JazzFest Salutes Howard University Jazz!”

Afro Blue is directed, managed, and founded by Howard University Jazz Voice Coordinator, Connaitre Miller.

Highlights of Afro Blue’s history have been their collaborations with world-class jazz pianist and Howard university alumna, Geri Allen, who is the current Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. The ensemble has been honored to have joined Ms. Allen in the premier of her commissioned suite For the Healing of the Nations: A Sacred Jazz Suite for the Victims and Survivors of 9/11; for a performance of Mary Lou’s Mass for the 15th anniversary of the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at The Kennedy Center; at the “Celebrate Brooklyn!” concert series in Prospect Park, NY; Celebrating the Great Jazz Women of the Apollo, at the Apollo Theatre, and for the world premier of her composition Stone and Streams, which was commissioned by The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, for which Afro Blue received a proclamation from the New Jersey State Government. In 2014, Afro Blue joined Ms. Allen at the 44th Annual Jazz Seminar and Concert at the University of Pittsburgh.
Join us at BLU Jazz+ for a very special evening as we host this phenomenal award-winning group from our nation’s capital – get your tickets today!

7:00 pm


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BLU Jazz+ was named one of the "Best Jazz Venues in the World" by DownBeat Magazine (2016, 2017, 2018)
Committed to the preservation of America's treasured art form of jazz, BLU Jazz+ Masterclass Foundation (BJMF) is a new program developed by the founders of BLU Jazz+ Akron that brings “front-row” jazz education performance & mentorship opportunities to student musicians and art lovers alike through an ongoing series of special events throughout the year.