Michael Supports California Firefighters

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Stars Honor California Fire Foundation: Comedians Skyler Stone, Greg Fitzsimmons and Wayne Federman, pop/rock group Magnolia Memoir, singer John Fiore, saxophonist Michael Lington, actor James Kyson and more gathered last week in support of The California Fire Foundation’s first L.A. benefit.The California Fire Foundation, a non-profit organization which provides emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters, firefighters and the communities they protect hosted its Inaugural Los Angeles Gala on Thursday May 15th at the Sheraton Universal Hotel.

Festivities kicked off with an outdoor cocktail party by L.A. based alternative, pop, rock group Magnolia Memoir. Attendees enjoyed the beautiful weather and music in the garden setting, sipping on wine and cocktails while catching up with their fellow firefighters, who came together from across the state in honor of this amazing organization.

Following the cocktail reception, guests, including approximately 300 firemen and their VIP and community supporters, came together for a sit down dinner and entertainment. Actor/Comedian Skyler Stone Emceed the night, welcoming the Chair of the California Fire Foundation, Lou Paulson, Sacramento Metro Fire District Battalion Chief Maurice ‘Mo’ Johnson and daughter of fallen fireman, Nicole Ann Herman, recipient of the organization’s Daniel A. Terry Scholarship.

Keeping the atmosphere light and the vibe festive, Stone welcomed comedian Greg Fitzsimmons (a regular guest on The Howard Stern Show, Chelsea Lately and The Adam Carolla Show) and comedian/actor Wayne Federman (best known for supporting roles in The 40 –Year Old Virgin, Step Brothers, 50 First Dates and head monologue writer for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), to the stage to provide non-stop laughter with their hilarious sets. Singer/songwriter John Fiore also honored the firemen with a beautiful rendition of “What a Wonderful World,” followed by a riveting contemporary musical performance by saxophonist Michael Lington. https://www.looktothestars.org/news/12019-stars-honor-california-fire-foundation

Soul Appeal CD Review

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Criticaljazz.com: Michael Lington grips it and rips it for his finest release yet!
Smooth jazz is essentially dead, easy listening for those struggling with turning forty. Michael Lington has found his wheelhouse with a retro soul approach amped up for the next generation. Fun, funky and fierce may best describe a project that embraces retro soul but with a contemporary freshness that includes two stand out vocal tracks “Gonna Love You Tonight” from Kenny Lattimore and “Leave Me You” with vocalist Ryan Shaw. Memphis Soul has been in the jazz witness protection program for far too long. Granted this is not a new approach but this is one of the more solid efforts to kick start what is arguably the backbone of American music. The reharm on the King Curtis tune “Memphis Soul Stew” includes a high octane horn blast from the past and a lyrical sense of purpose hard to beat.

Contemporary instrumental has become predictable with little changing over the last thirty years other than technology. Michael Lington went old school with new cool results and a sound that puts the sonic paddles to genre long since left for dead by radio programmers and critics alike. A live band allows the warmth and intensity of Lington’s style and execution to reach new heights. This particular release is a Michael Lington joint from start to finish. Lighting in a bottle is rare but you can find it here. The sound is every bit the winner as Lington’s performance. No music should every sound as though it has been sanitized for your protection. It’s o.k. to get a little dirty! www.criticaljazz.com

Soul Appeal #1 for 11 weeks

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First radio single from Soul Appeal is continuing it’s streak at #1. It has held this position for the past 11 consecutive weeks on the Groove Jazz Music chart and also was #1 on several other charts including USA Today and The Radio Wave Internet airplay chart.

Soul Appeal Review

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Danish-American saxophonist Michael Lington has made an entire career of titillating ears with songs suave and flavorsome. Seven albums and numerous radio hits to his credit, Lington, whose musical path features no shortage of intrepid moves and defiant choices, recently released yet another exploratory venture titled Soul Appeal, which oozes with charm and sophistication. Delightful and restorative, this opus acts as an anxiolytic, a balm smeared on septic wounds, a therapeutic cocktail.

The grand majority of the tracks are purely instrumental and prove to be more than mere displays of technical prowess; rather they richly fuse funky, bluesy sonorities and pay homage to all the celebrated musicians of the 60’s and 70’s Memphis soul scene. Michael Lington indulges in an exercise he is not utterly unfamiliar with: take something he adores and make it his own.

Michael Lington
Groove-infused “Soul Appeal,” “Taking Off” and “Uptown Groove” open the album and exhibit a musical lushness that is remarkable; we applaud Lington’s generosity in producing an ambience propitious to exchange and musical abandon. Never once does his sax playing encumber or overpower the other musicians’ parts, allowing for a rock-solid circle to form, one rich in slickness and exuberance. In “Gonna Love You Tonight,” Lington’s sax arbors a more romantic suit, and accompanies brilliant R&B vocalist Kenny Lattimore, as any gentleman would, letting the former voice an amorous ode to his or desired beloved, never interrupting, only egging on with the aid of stirringly smooth sax lines – the ideal wingman! “Manhattan Nights” transports us to a 90’s dim and smoky jazz bar in New York, women dancing in retro clothes while men eye them; dulcet and a tad lascivious, this track concludes the first half of Soul Appeal on a particularly hot note.

“In the Pocket,” a reworking of King Curtis’ classic, is nicely jazzy and features a both ardent and nuanced saxophonic solo. “Leave Me You,” a powerful ballad led by Georgian soul musician Ryan Shaw, is another example of Michael Lington’s illustrious musicianship: he withdraws when needed, playing down musical agility in favor of emotional wealth. “Going Home” keeps it home with a languid sax lead in this savory ballad, replete with fits of élan and moments of poignant nostalgia. “Double Down” further grounds Lington’s dexterity and band spirit while “Memphis Soul Stew,” another inventive variant of King Curtis’ hit, establishes him as an eminent instrumentalist whose artistic possibilities are infinite. The album finishes on “Follow Your Heart,” a slow and melancholy piano-sax track, which, although devoid of lyrics, seems to convey untold feelings and sensations, a last appeal to soulful and authentic music.

Soul Appeal demonstrates Lington’s savoir-faire as well as his penchant for risk-taking and gathers, much to our delight, an assembly of gifted artists in this thrill-packed opus. While the album excels at reenacting the immediacy and flavor of Soul wonders past, it does at the detriment of variety, causing it, on a second hearing, to lose a soupcon of its initial appeal. Go to 24OurMusic: 24OurMusic

Indiegogo Campaign Thank you’s

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I would personally like to thank the following people for their contribution to my Indiegogo Campaign. It was a crucial step in completing my CD #SoulAppeal and I hope you enjoyed the result as much as I enjoyed making the music. THANK YOU: Rene Taniguchi, Harald Wessel, Marilyn James and Richard Phetteplace, Ozlem Mehmet, Lissa & Kirk Dallas
Andreas Buechel, Martin Berger, Kenneth Levinson, Nancy & Rick Tomdale, Peggy Jensen, Kathy Taylor, Trisha Friend, Paul Goade, LtCol DB Dronoff, Marc Hulett, Kate Casas, Toni Jirovsky.

Lington/Lattimore Song Review

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The reviews from Soul Appeal are coming in, here is one from Soultracks.com: For several years and seven albums, Michael Lington has been pleasing contemporary jazz fans with his expressive saxophone playing. But his fans may not have expected the kind of soulful turn he is making on his upcoming album, Soul Appeal. Working with a “who’s who” of R&B greats, from Ray Parker, Jr. to Nathan East to Barry Eastman, Lington is making a very soulful statement with this fine album. And Michael leads off the album with a great cut featuring vocalist supreme Kenny Lattimore. Check out “Gonna Love You Tonight” and hear how well these two artists work together!

Michael and Kenny performing in Las Vegas

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Michael and special guest Kenny Lattimore will perform together at Club Madrid at Sunset Station Casino on March 29th, 2014. This will be the first of a series of shows they will perform together and also be a CD pre-release party for Michael’s forth coming CD, Soul APPEAL. There will also be sampling of some of the finest wines including Cakebread and Stag’s Leap. For tickets go to: TICKETS FOR LAS VEGAS