Here’s yet another Baltimore-area big band led by a retired music educator, in this case Thomas “Whit” Williams, who taught in Anne Arundel County schools for 37 years. Whit, who was honored by BJA with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, has been one of the most prominent sax players on the Baltimore scene since the mid-1950s. He began Now’s the Time, so named by his wife Ethel, in 1981. “We used to get a whole lot of gigs. I was really blessed,” says Williams.
In 2008 the band released The Whit Williams “Now’s the Time” Big Band on Summit Records to critical acclaim, including a 4 ½ star review in DownBeat. Internationally known jazz stars Slide Hampton and Jimmy Heath made guest appearances and contributed compositions and arrangements, which complemented compositions by Williams and Thelonious Monk. All the tracks may be heard on youtube.com, in three segments.
Until earlier this year the band practiced every Monday night. They are currently without a rehearsal space. We encourage you to call Whit Williams, 410-465-3737, with any offers or ideas.
This article continues our series on area big bands — if you missed any of them, you can catch them here at Big Band of the Week.