- Jubilee (5:07)
- Ain’t Misbehavin’ (3:04)
- Martin’s Theme (4:01)
- This Can’t Be Love (3:01)
- How Do You Keep The Music Playing? (4:20)
- Closer (2:57)
- My Heart Stood Still (3:45)
- Episode: Prelude (2:28)
- D. B. Blues (Detention Barracks Blues) (3:22)
- Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (4:07)
- We’ve Only Just Begun (3:07)
- One Note Samba (4:34)
- Too Marvelous For Words* (3:26)
- Dancing In The Street (4:12)
Afro Blue’s 4th CD recording, Jubilee, is a collection of songs demonstrating the versatility of the ensemble. Through their participation on The Sing-Off, NBC-TV’s a cappella group competition, Afro Blue was required to perform signature versions of former and current pop hits. Presented with an opportunity to introduce a wider audience to their unique jazz style, their director, Connaitre Miller, accepted the challenge and produced Afro Blue versions of the Carpenter’s classic “We’ve Only Just Begun,” and the more recent Ne-Yo hit, “Closer,” which she co-arranged with John Kenniebrew, current bass singer for Afro Blue. Following the positive response generated by this national exposure, The Susan G. Komen Foundation requested Afro Blue to close their 2011 Black Tie Gala with a song that would serve as a joyful finale, demonstrate the Afro Blue sound and also include the band! The Motown classic, “Dancing in the Street” was the result of this request, and also serves as the finale to this recording.
In keeping with Ms. Miller’s philosophy of providing her exceptional students with opportunities to showcase their many talents, there are two selections on this recording performed by a sub-group of Afro Blue named Blue Note. “Ain’t Misbehavin‘“ was co-arranged by Devin Robinson and John Kenniebrew for a performance that occurred during the summer of 2012. This tight, 5 voice small group, consisting of the more advanced members of Afro Blue produces such a mature, professional sound that Ms. Miller also asked them to record “My Heart Stood Still.” Shacara Rogers, (GTA), one of the most versatile soloists in Afro Blue’s 12 year history, is featured on several selections on this recording. Her lyrics and performance of Lester Young’s “D. B. Blues” demonstrates Shacara’s remarkable vocal ability along with her sense of humor. Shacara’s duet with John Kenniebrew, “One Note Samba,” has always been a crowd pleaser at Afro Blue concerts, highlighting their improvisational skills. Afro Blue fans will not be disappointed with the variety of swinging jazz standards, a heartfelt ballad expertly led by Shacara and the high-energy title track samba, “Jubilee.”
The biggest departure from the more expected Afro Blue style is the inclusion of the traditional Negro spiritual, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” Afro Blue was hired to perform the premier of Geri Allen’s commissioned piece, Stone and Streams with The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for the opening concert of their 2013-2014 series, and at the request of the NJSO Music Director, Jacque Lacombe, added this spiritual to the program in honor of Antonin Dvorak. With the solo being sung artfully and soulfully by Afro Blue Alumnus, Micah Robinson, this selection is a favorite of Connaitre Miller’s and has garnered positive responses from all who have heard it.
Please enjoy this labor of love and latest offering of Afro Blue’s – Jubilee (dedicated to Ms. Geri Allen)!