Composer, arranger, bandleader, lyricist, and drummer Art Lillard leads The Heavenly Band, Blue Heaven, the Art Lillard Trio, the 9th Street Stompers, Three Corners Trio, Comfort Zone Trio, and the On Time Band.

He grew up in Miami, where his jazz roots include playing with the great master Ira Sullivan and studying with pianist/composer Wally Cirillo. Art also studied at Karl Berger’s Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York. Subsequently, he graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston with a bachelor’s degree in composition and arranging, having garnered multiple scholarships and honors along the way. Art has also studied with Greg Hopkins, Mike Gibbs, Paul Caputo, Tom Boras, Kenny Werner, Portinho, Maria Schneider, Mike Holober, and Jim McNeely.

Art’s nine-horn Heavenly Band has been playing in clubs and concert spaces since 1987. Their compact disk, “Reasons to be Thankful,” was released on the Summit Records label in 2006. For video of the Heavenly Band performing live at Iridium in New York City, please visit

The On Time Band, which can be either a trio or a quartet, released "It's Time," also on Summit, in 2009. Video clips from a performance at the 92nd Street Y in New York are also on YouTube (see above).

In 1998, Art's seven-piece swing band, Blue Heaven, appeared on television playing original compositions on two episodes of CBS's "Guiding Light" series.

A professional drummer since 1970, Art has had a rich performing career as a sideman in groups of various musical genres, including jazz, country & western, cabaret, rock, and show music. He has recorded with some of these groups. Along the way, he has played such jazz luminaries as Jaki Byard, Gilly Coggins, Junior Cook, Kenny Davern, Joe Diorio, Bobby Forrester, Eric Gunnison, Greg Hopkins, Paul Horn, Nancy King, Cecil McBee, Arturo O’Farrill, the aforementioned Ira Sullivan, and many more.

Art has written hundreds of compositions in a wide range of musical genres. Regularly commissioned by performers, producers and other composers to arrange music for vocalists and instrumental groups, his works have been recorded on CD by guitar/sax duo Pere Soto & David Valdez, vibraphonist Gust Tsilis, vocalist Larry Browne, saxophonist Claire Daly, flutist Jan Leder, and the band Groovalaya.

Art also wrote and scored the soundtrack for a film, “The Wannabees.” Some of his compositions can be heard on episodes of the MTV productions, “Jackass” and “Cat House,” and on HBO’s “True Blood,” as well as in an online commercial for Mercedes Benz.