Released on this day 30 years ago “Nite and Day” is often what I like to refer to as “Smooth Jack Swing” in a nod to the musical genre grouping that often follows the early work of Al B. Sure! and his musical partner Kyle West. I make the slight distinction between New Jack and this smoother cousin because of one of the elements that is immediately apparent upon first listening to this song – the harmony.

Now if I were to transport back to my, (ahem) younger self, I know that I probably was not thinking in terms of the advanced harmonic content of “Nite and Day”. I heard it but just didn’t have the knowledge then to articulate what I was hearing in that particular analytical manner. Also, I knew immediately from that first kick drum hit and that haunting synth melody in the intro that I had not heard anything quite like this before. You see when the beat kicked in it felt like a Hip-Hop song, nice punchy drums with underlying boom, but then the aforementioned melody and a bassline that literally is a melody of its own so much so that I think it would be very easy for most fans of the song to sing the bassline as well as the actual song.

Once things get cooking in “Nite and Day” we are treated to the keyboard chop(the chords played in a rhythmic versus sustained manner)that really gives the song its drive. Now I must pause here because I must point out that this was an interesting era in music because I feel like there was a pretty decent balance between music and technology. Now I could be waxing nostalgic so you can certainly take all of this with a grain of salt. But the balance I speak of is at that time it felt like with new releases you would hear new sounds and those sounds could often be attributed to an artist and their team. How that plays into the concept of balance is that you were not inundated with the same sound over and over and over. Yes, there were exceptions like when everyone wanted to do a remix and use the drums from Soul II Soul’s “Keep On Movin” but in 1988 when “Nite and Day” dropped all of those sounds just sounded so fresh to the ears and became part of what you associated with the Al B. Sure! sound.

You know what else was fresh? I thought it was fresh to have an artist come out that was relatable through dressing and presenting an image that other young aspiring smooth cats could relate to. Now was I in that group of aspiring young smooth cats? I dunno, you’d probably have to ask someone who was around during that time who could be objectively honest. What I can say though is looking back ’88 was an incredibly great time to be part of the wave of music like “Nite and Day”, films like “School Daze” the rise of Jordan as the soon to be GOAT and on and on. We would have to wait another nine months or so for “A Different World” to stop being corny but I digress…

Listen, today is a day of celebration! We’re celebrating 30 years of “Nite and Day” which is still one of my favorites and certainly a landmark in music. Today is also “National Margarita Day” for all you imbibers of spirits out there. Here’s a thought… why not combine the two this evening? A little-frozen(not grande lol) lime margarita and salt or whatever your favorite flavor is and press play on “Nite and Day”. You may have to repeat the process a few times to get the vibe you know? Just make sure you drink and listen responsibly!

P.S. We will definitely be opening the microphones to do an Inside The Album Podcast on In Effect Mode with the GFM Crew this Spring!

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.