Michael Lington
Everything Must Change - Enhanced CD

CD $13.98   

1) Off The Hook (listen)
2) In the Shade
3) Through the Fire (listen)
4) The Moment
5) For You
6) Larger than Life
7) Still Thinking of You
8) 3 A.M.
9) Mallorca
10) Everything Must Change (listen)


Producers : Marcus Johnson, Brian Culbertson,Peter Bunetta, Jeff Lorber

Michael Lington's debut CD on the Marimelj label, Everything Must Change, is a far cry from his last two CDs, Michael Lington and Vivid. With a more urban and R&B feel, it's a more colorful project, a collaboration with some of the industry's top writers and producers.

Off the Hook and Still Thinking of You are heavily R&B-flavored tracks produced by the ever-popular Brian Culbertson. Lington's Spanish-flavored composition Mallorca (with guitarist Paul Viapiano from the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra) and the R&B flavored ballad For You were produced by pop heavyweight Peter Bunetta (Michael Bolton, Smokey Robinson). Jeff Lorber produced the sultry funk of 3 AM and the Bruce Hornsby flavored In the Shade, while Greg Karukas and Lington co-produced Larger Than Life, and the keyboardist created a colorful arrangement of Chaka Khan's hit Through the Fire. It's not surprising that Lington says he learned a lot from this project and grew quite a bit as a player and artist. We think this is a change that audiences will definitely welcome.

Several years ago, when Michael Lington began touring the world with international superstar vocalist Randy Crawford, he enjoyed the magnificent irony of performing at a theatre in Copenhagen that he strolled by, longingly, so many times while growing up. The Danish saxophonist’s early dreams have been realized with performances all over the world (with Crawford, Bobby Caldwell and others), and Lington has since 1997 established himself as one of the essential young voices in contemporary jazz. Caldwell’s performance on “Tell It Like It Is,” from Lington’s self-titled debut, propelled the single to the Top 10 of the NAC chart and Top 20 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. His 2000 release Vivid spawned two of smooth jazz’s hottest singles of the year, “Twice in a Lifetime” (which hit #2 on the airplay chart) and “Sunset (Por Do Sol)” (which reached #4).

Lington’s incredible success over the past few years has sparked an immense amount of professional and spiritual growth, and he has come to understand that one of the keys to maturity lies in embracing all the changes. For him, calling his Marimelj Entertainment debut Everything Must Change is about more than simply choosing one of his favorite recordings from the album as the title for the whole project. He truly loves the old standard of that name, which has been recorded by everyone from Stevie Wonder to George Benson. But the title has also become something of a mission statement for Lington, which he applies to both his career and his life.

“It’s as true as anything can be for me, an old song from many years ago that has many deep meanings for me, as I acknowledge that nothing ever stays the same,” says Lington. “Musically, it’s about my commitment to not simply building upon my success, but adding extra elements to my music to make it more interesting for both myself and the listeners. If you start resting on your laurels, you become stagnant, and staying alive in this genre means constantly coming up with fresh ideas. So I’m recording some things digitally for the first time. Then in general, on a more important level, we’re often resistant to change because we’re afraid of stepping out. But honestly, that’s the only way to grow as an individual. Accept all things gracefully, including getting older. I embrace that now, and I like who I am today as opposed to where I was, say, ten years ago. I’ve opened myself up to accepting the changes and it’s made a tremendous difference in how I approach people and my music. Music is the voice I have to communicate with people, and so that must evolve too. In every way, living by this philosophy has led to better things.”

One of the ways Lington keeps the flow fresh on Everything Must Change is indulging in his love for a variety of vibes and styles. As both artist and producer of the CD, Lington challenges himself by collaborating with some of the industry’s top writers and producers. While Vivid was produced exclusively by pop heavyweight Peter Bunetta (Michael Bolton, Smokey Robinson), the new recording finds Lington venturing out, complementing two new Bunetta tracks with ones produced by top smooth jazz names like keyboardists Brian Culbertson and Gregg Karukas as well as another outside co-producer, Sam Purkin. Lington also spared no expense on attracting top name musical talent on the jazz and R&B fronts. Everything Must Change features performances by guitarists Tony Maiden and Paul Jackson, Jr., keyboardist Brad Cole, bassists Nathan East and Alex Al, drummer Ricky Lawson, and Jeff Lorber.

“Making this record was really a fun process because of all the different flavors and artists involved,” Lington says. “I really learned a lot, and not surprisingly, grew quite a bit as a player and artist.” The Bunetta-produced songs are Lington’s Spanish-flavored composition “Mallorca” (with guitarist Paul Viapiano from the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra) and the R&B flavored ballad “For You.” Lorber’s include the sultry funk of “3 AM” and the Bruce Hornsby flavored “In the Shade.” Culbertson’s are the heavily R&B tracks “Off the Hook” and “Still Thinking of You.” Karukas and Lington co-produced “Larger Than Life” and the keyboardist created a colorful arrangement of Chaka Khan’s hit “Through the Fire.” Lington and Purkin co-produced “The Moment.”

One of the most emotional changes in Michael Lington’s life in recent years came with the death of his beloved grandfather. Lington began playing clarinet at age seven and remembers spending time as a young boy with his grandfather in Copenhagen, walking the streets and talking about the music industry. Lington was trained classically, but switched to the sax at age 15 upon hearing American soul and jazz musicians like Cannonball Adderly, John Coltrane and David Sanborn. “I wanted to improvise and the clarinet wasn’t quite expressive enough for me,” he says. “I really connected more with R&B. So I picked up the sax and my style changed immediately.”

Lington operated a recording studio in Copenhagen for a time, and also competed in several installments of the Eurovision Song Contest while touring with local Danish artists throughout Scandinavia and Germany. He took a major career plunge by moving to America, and lived through all the proverbial struggling days, all the while feeling that “America would be my environment. I love the language, the culture, the people.” His first touring gigs were with rock legends Little Richard and Gary “U.S.” Bonds, but his major breakthrough came with singer Bobby Caldwell, with whom Lington played from 1994 through 1998.

Smooth jazz fans know that Caldwell has been a proving ground for saxmen who have gone onto huge solo careers, including Dave Koz, Richard Elliot and Boney James. Lington is well on his way to following in those prodigious footsteps. Lington’s self-titled debut and its follow-up Vivid have been two of the most popular genre releases in recent years. Helping his cause is the tremendous exposure he’s received worldwide as a member of Randy Crawford’s band; on most occasions, Lington opens the show with his own material before assuming the role of sideman.

“The most fascinating thing for me is watching how a tune evolves, from the moment I’m looking blankly at the keyboards or putting the sax in my mouth, to the finished product,” he says. “I love being part of the process of how a song goes from that initial spark into something people listen to on the radio. I know I took quite a leap of faith when I moved to the United States and I’m very excited to see how things have worked out for me. It all goes back to the album concept of Everything Must Change. Who knows what’s going to happen or what’s in store for any of us. It’s really very fascinating.”

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2002 Lightyear Entertainment