Beside Marty Paich, none of Mel Tormé's collaborators exerted such a large influence on the singer's career as George Shearing, the pianist whose understated, expressive accompaniment contributed to Tormé's resurgence during the early '80s. Their six excellent albums together – two of which, An Evening With… and Top Drawer, earned Grammy awards – proved that classic vocal music had outlasted the long night that was the '70s, and emerged to become a timeless American genre. The pair's work for Concord was usually recorded live in a trio or quartet setting; leaving much space for Shearing solos, Tormé occasionally reprised his big standards ("A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," "Lullaby of Birdland," "The Folks Who Live on the Hill"), but often searched for more obscure material he could make his own, and often succeeded. Tormé and Shearing were restless innovators, taking on a full album of World War II standards, medleys devoted to songs about New York and by Duke Ellington, and a stunningly broad range of material: "Oleo," "Lili Marlene," "How Do You Say Auf Wiedersehen?," and "Dat Dere."
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.
Tenor saxophonist George Adams' third recording as a leader (following two obscure releases for the Italian Horo label) is a little unusual in that the extroverted soloist is heard on the usually introverted ECM label. Adams is teamed with fellow tenor Heinz Sauer (who has a cooler sound), trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, pianist Richard Beirach, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette for five group originals. The playing is advanced but not as fiery as most of Adams' later sets.