Stay With Me
Saxophonist Michael Lington presents a solid collection of smooth-jazz tunes on Stay With Me (Rendezvous), his debut release from Rendezvous Entertainment, a label co-headed by saxophonist Dave Koz. The album kicks off with the R&B-inflected "Show Me," which sets Lington's muscular performance against a bed of briskly strummed guitars. Things turn anthemic on "Apasionada," which features producer/vocalist Michael Sembello on wordless vocals, and lively on the Latin-flavored "Pacifica." Guitarist Chuck Loeb contributes a rapid-run solo on "Two of a Kind," an appealing tune that might have been even stronger with more interaction between Lington and Loeb. Lington closes the album with a soaring cover of Paul McCartney's "My Love," which features Koz on background saxes. It's a good choice; the song hasn't been covered to death, and it's well suited for an instrumentalist with a strong sense of melody like Lington. At a little over 40 minutes, Stay With Me is a bit short, but it gives smooth-jazz fans plenty to like.