Howard Universityâ€™s premier vocal jazz ensemble, Afro Blue was formed in the spring of 2002. Since its inception, this dynamic jazz choir has quickly gained national attention.
In 2003, Afro Blue received the DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award for Best College Jazz Group. The following year they received another DownBeat award for Outstanding College Jazz Choir. In 2007, Howard University graduate student, Quincy Phillips also won a DownBeat award for Best College Jazz Arrangement for his treatment of the Dietz and Schwartz standard â€œAlone Together,â€ which he arranged specifically for Afro Blue and which is included in this CD compilation. In May of 2008, Afro Blue once again received a DownBeat award for Outstanding College Vocal Jazz Choir. In addition, Afro Blue member, Christie Dashiell, received a DownBeat award for Outstanding College Vocal Jazz Soloist. She is featured on the spiritual â€œOh Freedom.â€
Afro Blue has performed at many prestigious venues in and around Washington, DC including The Library of Congress, The Carmichael Auditorium at the National Museum of American History, The State Department, The Lincoln Theatre, The Warner Theatre, The Japanese Cultural and Exchange Center, Twins Jazz Club, and HR-57. Most recently, on Memorial Day, May 26, 2008, Afro Blue was featured in a segment of â€œAll Things Consideredâ€ on NPR (National Public Radio).
Afro Blue had the distinct honor of being the first jazz choir from an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to be selected to perform at the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) Annual Conference, an honor they have received twice (2004 and 2007). A major highlight for the group has been the development of a very special performance relationship with world-class jazz pianist and Howard University alum, Geri Allen. Afro Blue had the privilege of performing the debut of her piece â€œFor The Healing of the Nations: A Sacred Jazz Suite For the Victims and Survivors of 9/11â€ in September 2006, in Camden, New Jersey and again in October 2007, in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, they appeared with Ms. Allen, Ron Carter and Jimmy Cobb in a 2006 performance at the Kennedy Center. Most recently, Afro Blue was selected to perform their rendition of â€œLift Evâ€™ry Voice and Singâ€ (also referred to as the â€œNational Black Anthemâ€) in September 2007 at the Congressional Black Caucus Awards Dinner.
Freedom In Song is a double-CD compilation of songs recorded by Afro Blue between the years of 2002-2008. This collection includes eight (8) new selections that have not been previously released on the Howard University Jazz Ensemble recordings. We hope you enjoy listening to this CD as much as we enjoyed recording it.