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 good sense of balance by including several vocals throughout the course of this session, thus providing a well-rounded presentation. They include a nice job by jazz cabaret singer Mary Foster Conkllin on the Latinized "Nonchalant" and especially the Jon Hendricks-inspired work of Miles Griffith on two tracks. His vocal on "Swingin' The Blues Away," combined with Bob Mover's alto solo, is one of the album's highlights.
Lillard's sense of dynamics emerges with the opening "Bluez Organ Man," which has an overlay of Caribbean percussion. Altoist Bob Mover, whom I haven't heard from in decades, provides a solid contribtion on "The Fast Track," as does tenorist David Peterson on "Conclusion Jump." Lillard also gets some noted guest participation from pianists Mike Longo and Arturo O'Farrill.
Track Listing: Bluez Organ Man; The Fast Track; Swinginí the Blues Away; Justice Waiting; Conclusion Jump;
Heavenly; Nonchalant; Incognito; Biznes Changes; Finding Our Own Way; You Canít Win
Blues; Dreamscape/Perfect World; Reasons to be Thankful.
Personnel: Art Lillard: drums, leader; Jan Leder, Jeff Schiller, Mauricio Smith, Jay Collins: flute; Kyle
Whelan: soprano saxophone; David Valdez: alto saxophone; David Peterson: tenor
saxophone; Justin Mullens, Erik Jekabson: trumpet; Michael Boschen, Phil Arnold: trombone;
Mark McCarron: guitar; Mike Longo, Arturo OíFarrill: piano; Sean Smith, George Mitchell:
bass; Mary Foster Conklin, Cleve Douglass, Miles Griffith, Brook Lillard: vocals.
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!