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Michael Lington: Everything Must Change

The title of Michael Lington’s third CD, Everything Must Change (Three Keys Entertainment) reflects his approach to the project. Deciding to experiment with his sound, the popular smooth-jazz saxophonist called on several top artist-composer-producers, including Brian Culbertson, Jeff Lorber and Gregg Karukas, and together they crafted a series of tunes with an R&B edge.

Lington’s snappy performance on the percolating “3 a.m.,” his sensitive reading of the title track, and the vibrant, Latin-flavored “Mallorca” are among the album’s highlights. There are weak moments, though; Lington’s saxophone sometimes gets lost in the busy, groove-heavy arrangement of “In the Shade,” and he turns in an unadventurous version of the Chaka Khan chestnut “Through the Fire.” With its soul-jazz vibe, Lington’s multitracked horn section and the presence of musicians like Karukas, Ricky Lawson, Alex Al, Ricky Peterson and Paul Jackson Jr., “Larger Than Life” begins promisingly but never quite catches fire. It’s a shame, because it would have been fun to hear players of this caliber cut loose and deliver a jam that lives up to the song title.

Originally Published