Joe Williams: Night Time is the Right Time (to be with the One You Love)


Night Time is the Right Time (To Be With The One You Love)


Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra with Joe Williams


Presenting Joe Williams and The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra (Blue Note 30454)

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Joe Williams (vocals), Thad Jones (flugelhorn), Mel Lewis (drums), Snooky Young (trumpet), Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone), Jerome Richardson (reeds), Pepper Adams (baritone sax), Jerry Dodgion (alto sax, flute), Eddie Daniels (clarinet), Joe Farrell (reeds), Sir Roland Hanna (piano), Richard Davis (bass),

Jimmy Nottingham, Bill Berry, Richard Williams (trumpet); Garnett Brown, Tom McIntosh, (trombone); Sam Herman (guitar)


Composed by Roosevelt Sykes


Recorded: New York City, September 1966


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

Evaluating the relative merits of Joe Williams' recorded tracks with Count Basie in the '50's, as compared to those he sang with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra in 1966, is a futile and nearly pointless endeavor. Basie's band was perhaps earthier, Jones/Lewis more modern in its charts, but the bottom line is that Williams' definitve, singular vocals were the key element to success in both cases.

Williams as a young man probably heard the earliest recorded versions of "Night Time is the Right Time" by Roosevelt Sykes and Big Bill Broonzy in the late '30's, and of course Ray Charles hit both the pop and R & B charts with it in 1958. Yet the tune probably got its widest exposure years later when the Huxtables lip-synched it on the very popular Cosby Show in 1985. "I want to warn you before we begin...if you stay out all night darlin', I declare that that will be the e-e-end," Williams intones conversationally over just bass, drums, and tinkling piano. The brass enter mournfully as Williams continues intimately: "Make an effort, baby." Wailing muted trumpet and swelling saxes set the stage for the climax, as Williams unleashes his full vocal power and the orchestra responds in kind. Williams becomes irresistibly personal and overwhelmingly beseeching (no longer threatening), bending syllables, bursting out in raw shrieks, and ending with an emphatic baritone note that evokes Billy Eckstine.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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