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by Tyran Grillo
Art Lillard's Heavenly Big Band New York City Baha'i Center New York, NY August 22, 2017 In this teetering age in which we live, where one wrong move might tip an edge too far in one direction, drummer/composer Art Lillard and his Heavenly Big Band" stand firmly toward the center, finding balance in more than just a solid groove or memorable lick. Rather, Lillard understands that sharing music needn't be political, fiercely philosophical, ...read more
by Tyran Grillo
Art Lillard's On Time Trio Sugarcane Brooklyn, NY June 24, 2015 Attend jazz performances in a big city like New York long enough, and you're liable to realize how often the genre serves as a background to social activities. By the same token, music which isn't always fully acknowledged can peek its head above the surface with a voice all the more genuine for reaching out from a place of self-reflection. Such was the dynamic ...read more
by Jack Bowers
Drummer Art Lillard's Heavenly Big Band continues to spread sunshine and happiness on Certain Relationships, an album recorded in three sessions spanning the half-dozen years between 2005-2011. Of the fifteen selections, nine are vocals --by Pete McGuinness, Hilary Gardner, Andrea Wolper, Mary Foster Conklin or Dominique Eade. In Lillard's optimistic eyes, even the blues are gladsome (as Wolper affirms on Track 5, the buoyant Happy Blues"). And the shuffling You Bluesed Me," nicely sung by Conklin, is far more sunny ...read more
by Jack Bowers
Although drummer Art Lillard's Heavenly Band makes its home about as far from heaven as one could plausibly roam--New York City, to be precise--the music it produces on Reasons to Be Thankful (recorded in 2000 and released six years later) evokes at times an empyrean vibe, thanks in part to blissful arrangements by Lillard and guitarist Mark McCarron and spirited blowing by the ensemble. As for the point of view, it might best be described as contemporary swing, employing sophisticated ...read more
by Michael P. Gladstone
File this one under: Swingin' NYC Big Band! Drummer, bandleader and composer Art Lillard has been leading versions of this organization over the past nineteen years and has produced in Reasons To Be Thankful an upbeat and impressive album that exposes several talented and underappreciated musicians in the Big Apple. The thirteen selections are all Lillard originals, save for one by guitarist Mark McCarron, who also contributes several fine guitar solos throughout the album.
Lillard also shows a ...read more
by Jim Santella
Recorded in 2000, this session by Art Lillard's big band combines lively swing and a traditional mainstream essence into one original package. Lillard and members of his organization wrote the music for this romping program. Lillard, a drummer, leads the band with a swinging rhythmic foundation and comfortable strides. He brings in vocal soloists for six of the thirteen tracks.
Lillard's variable-pitch drum solo on Bluez Organ Man, and the song's incredible fusion of Caribbean percussion with big ...read more