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.
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.
CRI (Composers Recordings Inc., a non-profit, composer-directed American new music label) introduced their "blueshift" imprint in 2001 with this unique merging of jazz and the music of Charles Ives. The recording itself, however, was made in November, 1988 at Tedesco Studios in New Jersey and engineered by Jon Rosenberg, produced by Matt Moran and Adam Good (the vibraphone player and the guitarist, respectively, on the recording). The other musicians are John Hollenbeck (drums and other percussion) and Oscar Noriega (alto saxophone and bass clarinet).
Sweet organ lines, heavy drums, and a great little groove throughout – a tight batch of groovers from the mighty Charles Kynard! The keyboardist is in fine 70s form here – stepping away from the sparer sound of his albums for Prestige with a fuller style for Mainstream Records – in a groove that's almost part blacksploitation funk, thanks to some sharp backings from arranger Richard Fritz! The mighty Paul Humphrey is at the bottom of the set on nicely funky drums – and other players include Arthur Adams on guitar, Chuck Rainey on bass, and some great additional horns, which give the record a larger jazzy finish, but never get in the way of Kynard's lean, mean organ lines. There's a great version of "Rock Steady" on the album, one that has a great funky intro – plus the cuts "Shout", "Lime Twig", "Slop Jar", "Name The Missing Word", "Little Ghetto Boy", and "Hot Sauce".