LEWISTON – The Neo Jazz Collective, a spirited group of musicians ages 11 to 18 from Birmingham, Ala., will perform classic and avant-garde jazz Saturday, Feb. 7, at Bates College.

Put on by the office of multicultural affairs, the performance is a Black History Month program celebrating African-American cultural traditions. The public is invited to attend at no cost, but tickets are required.

Directed by Lud Yisrael, the band has recorded jazz favorites at the Carver Theatre and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, both in Birmingham. The group has also performed at the annual Function at the Junction in Ensley, Ala., and Birmingham’s City Stages Festival.

With music ranging from dreamy blues to snappy staccato jazz, these young musicians have shared the stage with the likes of Ona Watson, former member of the Commodores, and Michael Ward, an internationally acclaimed jazz violinist.

“We can all say that music is our way of communicating our lives, whether through the sax, bass, piano or the drums,” said 17-year-old Sam Albright, electric bass player. “We’ve found our medium of communicating to the world, and we just want you all to listen.”

Czerny Brasuell, director of multicultural affairs at Bates, saw the Neo Jazz Collective perform at the 2008 annual conference of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. “Theirs was a mesmerizing display of musical creativity and technical dexterity,” she said. “All of us in the audience were astounded when they were introduced individually at the end of their set and we discovered how young they were.”

The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St. For more information, call (207) 786-8376.

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