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Reasons to Be Thankful

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Album Review

As of 2006, Art Lillard's Heavenly Orchestra had been together for 18 years, although the local big band is little known outside of New York. Two aspects are particularly unusual about this orchestra's CD. Rather than playing standards like most swing-oriented big bands, all of the songs are originals by drummer-leader Art Lillard, who also arranged all of the pieces in a style reminiscent at times of both Count Basie and Thad Jones. In addition, four vocalists make appearances on six of the numbers yet do not dominate the music; Mary Foster Conklin is featured the most. Best known among the sidemen are veteran altoist Bob Mover and pianists Mike Longo and Arturo O'Farrill, but it is the more obscure players who generally take solo honors. The music overall is happy and swinging with well-played yet loose ensembles and a joyous group sound. Despite the lack of name recognition in both personnel and repertoire, Reasons to Be Thankful is easily recommended to fans of swinging big bands.

Customer Reviews

Very 'Hip'!!

Wow. This is 'groovy' material! This 'ain't' no ordinary big band recording...all original tunes, Art Lillard seems to be a musician that has a vision! The playing, the music, the arranging, and the vocals are all "heavenly"! and extremely accessible...very enjoyable!...The diversity of tunes is fantastic; if you 'dig' what you hear on sampling tunes like "Bluez Organ Man", "Conclusion Jump", "Swingin' The Blues Away", "Fast Track"....heck, I'd suggest you buy the whole thing...!

Great Group, really great music.

I saw them recently and they were wonderful. Each and every person in the band was great!

Still fabulous original material - Art Lillard

This is still fresh and worth a listen! I use "reason to be thankful" (the tune), to start playlists.

Record some more Art!

Reasons to Be Thankful, Art Lillard's Heavenly Band
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