Heavenly, by Art Lillard
Art Lillard’s Heavenly Big Band has been delighting local audiences with its uplifting and danceable sounds since 1987. Led by drummer-composer Art Lillard, the band performs an extensive repertoire of original songs varying in style from swing to samba to jazz ballad to bossa nova. Also in the band’s repertoire is a cornucopia of fresh, new arrangements of old jazz and swing standards and a few other surprises.
The ensemble, ranging from 13 to 17 players, features flutes along with the more traditional saxophones and brass. This mix gives the band its unique, rich, bright signature sound. Each arrangement showcases the inspirational soloing abilities of some of New York's finest jazz instrumentalists. Many numbers feature lyrics and display the special talents of top vocal artists.
Currently the band has over 130 charts in its book. The variety in the repertoire allows the group to provide music for a swing or Latin dance event, play a jazz concert, or even do a blues performance.
Audio clips of the Heavenly Band can be found at www.artlillard.com on both the “groups" and “listen" pages. Video clips of the band performing at Iridium in New York City can be seen and heard at http://www.youtube.com/user/artlillard/videos
Art Lillard's Heavenly Big Band has played in many other New York City venues, including Restaurant Bucharest, Tea Lounge, Jalopy Theater, John Birks Gillespie Auditorium, Nuyorican Poets Café, Cami Hall, Gargiulo’s Restaurant, The Savoy, Swing 46, Le Bar Bat, The Knitting Factory, The Garage, and the Zinc Bar. It has also performed at churches, community centers, and outdoor concerts and festivals including the Yonkers Riverfest, the Midland Beach Music Lovers Festival, and the New York City Parks Department’s Summer on the Hudson: Amplified Sundays series. The band has received sponsorship from such New York City institutions as Saint Peter's Church, where it has performed numerous times; the 14th Street - Union Square Development Corporation; Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture; and the Brooklyn Arts Council. For many years the Heavenly Band has performed regularly at community dance events presented by Brooklyn's Spoke the Hub Dancing. The band has also performed fund-raising programs for such worthy causes as Habitat for Humanity.
The band has two compact disc recordings on the Summit Records label: “Reasons to Be Thankful," which contains all original music, and “Certain Relationships," which features a mix of originals and freshly arranged standards.