This albums concept is totally what CTI label boss Creed Taylor was after. The album's title track is from Marvin Gaye's album released around the same time as this "Trouble Man". Both albums are large scale productions with lots of musicians and an Orchestra conducted and arranged on this album by Bob James who also plays keys on the album. The core band of players consists of Ron Carter on acoustic bass, Eric Gale on guitar,Billy Cobham on drums and Richard Tee on organ and keyboards. Pianist Harold Mabern also guests on electric piano. Idris Muhammad also plays drums on a track. The orchestra contains many big jazz names such as Randy Brecker on trumpet, Pepper Adams on baritone sax, Joe Farrell on tenor sax and Jerry Dodigon on alto sax. A who's who of Jazz horn talent all backing Turrentine.
Stanley Turrentine's stint with Creed Taylor's CTI label may not have produced any out-and-out classics on the level of the very best LPs by Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, or George Benson, but the bluesy tenorist's output was consistently strong and worthwhile for all but the most stridently anti-fusion listeners. Salt Song was Turrentine's second album for CTI, and while it's perhaps just a small cut below his debut Sugar, it's another fine, eclectic outing that falls squarely into the signature CTI fusion sound: smooth but not slick, accessible but not simplistic. In general, keyboardist Eumir Deodato's arrangements have plenty of light funk and Brazilian underpinnings, the latter often courtesy of percussionist Airto Moreira.
If ever there were a record that both fit perfectly and stood outside the CTI Records' stable sound, it is Sugar by Stanley Turrentine. Recorded in 1970, only three tracks appear on the original album (on the reissue there's a bonus live version of the title track, which nearly outshines the original and is 50 percent longer). Turrentine, a veteran of the soul-jazz scene since the '50s, was accompanied by a who's who of groove players, including guitarist George Benson, Lonnie Liston Smith on electric piano, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, bassist Ron Carter, organist Butch Cornell, and drummer Billy Kaye, among others.
This album of sophisticated 1980s jazz-funk from one of the master practitioners of the genre features Stanley Turrentine accompanied by a small group on a selection of mostly uptempo pieces, including the disco-influenced “Paradise” and the ballad “I Knew It Couldn’t Happen,” the latter with vocals by the well-known singer and actress Irene Cara.