Oh boy, he will have a lot of stories to tell. Not only because Esther was a peculiar character, but also due to the many behind-the-scenes facts before & during the very expensive recording sessions that took place at two different studios (Mediasound in NY, Van Gelder in NJ) between May and September, 1976. It's a massive set, a melting pot of jazz, r&b, pop, funk and disco, including potential dancefloor hits and haunting ballads such as "I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do," previously covered by Stanley Turrentine on "Salt Song."
All tunes were arranged by David Matthews, except "Candy" by Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis. As usual, producer Creed Taylor assembled an all-star supporting cast, which included the heavyweights often associated with CTI (Joe Farrell, Eric Gale, Ralph MacDonald, Don Grolnick, Steve Gadd, Anthony Jackson, Andy Newmark, John Tropea) as well as some other faces not so familiar to CTI's fans (Barry Miles, Jeff Berlin, Bobby Lyle, Barry Rogers etc). Not to mention the Brecker Brothers, Sam Burtis, Ronnie Cuber, Jon Faddis and Pee Wee Ellis himself on the horn section. And the former Bill Evans' bassist Chuck Israels playing arco bass as a member of the string section!
However, nothing could be more unexpected than the presences of two young artists that Creed had just signed for the CTI cast. And since Creed always followed the formula "a sideman one day, a leader the next," he invited electric violinist John Blair (the creator of the "vitar" instrument) and Allan Holdsworth to the proceedings. Nobody ever could have imagined to listen to the British guitar hero in an Esther Phillips album!!! But his appearance was quite discreet, playing pedal steel guitar on "Boy, I Really Tied One On," one of the tracks chosen to be released as a single. It is not a coincidence that both Esther and Allan had started to record their albums ("Capricorn Princess" and "Velvet Darkness," respectively) on that same May of 1976 at the same Van Gelder Studio.
Curiously, however, despite the many expectations and plans that Creed had for John Blair and Allan Holdsworth, they only recorded one album each for CTI (Blair's album was "We Belong Together" that came out in 1977). Blair did another sideman appearance for Creed, on Lalo Schifrin's "Towering Tocatta," but Holdsworth only guested on Esther's "Capricorn Princess."