Bill O’Connell formed the Chicago Skyliners Big Band in 1988 for the sole purpose of prolonging the musical memory of the Big Band Era. Members of the band in the early days were informed that this was not a major money making proposition, only a mission to keep Big Band alive. A regular at FitzGeralds in Berwyn, since 1991, the Chicago Skyliners Big Band are the workingest Big Band in Chicagoland.
The Band features the music of Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Sammy Nestico, Stan Kenton, Artie Shaw, Glen Miller, Frank Sinatra, and Duke Ellington. The band also showcases the music of more modern artists such as Al Jarreau, Maynard Ferguson, Doc Severson, Blood Sweat & Tears, The Ides of March, Tower of Power and Chicago.
Big Band is alive and well. The Chicago Skyliners have periodic open dates available for private parties, dances, jazz concerts, festivals, and special events.