Producer Jerry Wexler puts the earthy vocals of Maggie Bell in a beautiful setting here. She stretches John Prine's "Souvenirs" to the max with Steve Gadd ably assisting by splashing the drums as deep as Bell's vocals. Her uptempo version of J.J. Cale's "After Midnight" is more captivating than Eric Clapton's; she oozes that Etta James sexuality while Reggie Young throws some tasty guitar into the semi-calypso groove. Bell's identity is unique on much of the material, but a couple of tunes have her paying tribute to some of her sisters. The title track, "Queen of the Night," is drenched in gorgeous harmonies by the Sweet Inspirations and is pure Genya Ravan, but conversely, the cover of "A Woman Left Lonely," embraced totally by Janis Joplin on Pearl, is a sweet vocal and totally alien to how Joplin ripped the song to shreds so wonderfully. It works on an entirely different level on Queen of the Night – Bell's voice is an instrument that slips into different styles on a moment's notice.
Relator (real name Willard Harris) is one of Trinidad's finest calypsonians. He won the Calypso Monarch competition in 1980, an honor to which every calypsonian aspires, and is still considered one of the masters of the art form today. Relator is known for his amazing rhymes, and the dazzling phrasing he employs to sing his way through even the trickiest lyrics. Andy and Relator have been playing together for years, and decided to embark on the University of Calypso project in the spirit of the calypso pioneers of the 1950s. The collaboration was a real treat for both musicians. Andy assembled a group of Latin jazz all stars in New York, and invited maestro Paquito D'Rivera to join the ensemble.