Michael Lington: Vivid

Hidden somewhere beneath the puffy layers of synthesizer that dominate Vivid is the very capable sax voice of Michael Lington. Despite the typical smooth-jazz arrangements on pieces like the lethargic “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” and fluffy “Twice in a Lifetime,” the Denmark-born saxophonist shows considerable chops and a warm, romantic tone. Certain pieces support his technique better than others. “P.J. (Pamela Jean),” for example, adds a bit more percussive intrigue and funk bass, for a stronger contrast to his gently piping soprano. Lington hugs the corners with a snaking soprano line on the shuffling tonic “Por Du Sol (Sunset),” and holds court with vocalist Randy Crawford on a sunny cover of the Dionne Warwick chestnut “Message to Michael.” Unfortunately for Lington, many of the album’s arrangements (like a rework of Faith Hill’s hit “Let Me Let Go”) are tepid at best and lack the type of support needed to craft a breakout hit.