Looking Ahead EP

  • Release date: 2023-05-12
  • Label: Copenhagen Music
  • Catalog #: CM 007


Written by Michael Lington & David Mann

(Lington Music Publishing/ASCAP, Vidma Music/ASCAP)

Produced and Mixed by David Mann, Co-Produced by Michael Lington

Michael Lington – Alto Sax

David Mann – Keyboards, Synth Bass, Programming

Paul Jackson Jr – Guitar

Michael White – Drums



Written by Joe Wolfe, Paul Brown and Michael Lington

(ONChord Media/BMI, yo cats music/BMI, Lington Music Publishing/ASCAP)

Produced and Mixed by Paul Brown

Michael Lington – Alto Sax

Joe Wolfe – keyboards and Drum Programming

Paul Prown –  Nylon Guitar

Roberto Vally – Bass



Written by Michael Lington & Darren Rahn

(Lington Music Publishing/ASCAP, Odipantz Music/ASCAP)

Produced and Mixed by Darren Rahn, Co-Produced by Michael Lington

Michael Lington – Alto Sax

Darren Rahn – Wurli, Rhodes, Hammond Organ, Synths, Programming

Paul Jackson Jr – Guitar

Mel Brown – Bass

Tarell Martin – Drums



Written by Michael Lington and Chris “Big Dog” Davis

(Lington Music Publishing/ASCAP, Chris Davis Sounds/BMI)

Produced by Michael Lington and Chris “Big Dog” Davis

Mixed by Paul Brown

Michael Lington – Alto Sax

Programming and keyboards – Chris “Big Dog” Davis

Michael Thompson – Guitars and Bass

Eric Valentine – Drums

Lenny Castro – Percussion



Written by Shane Theriot, Paul Brown and Michael Lington

(Shane Theriot Music/ASCAP, yo cats music/BMI, Lington Music Publishing/ASCAP)

Produced and Mixed by Paul Brown

Michael Lington – Alto Sax

Shane Theriot – keyboards and Drum Programming

Paul Prown – Guitar

Mastered by Steve Hall at Future Disc

Art Direction by Robert McClain

Photography by Isaiah Mays


Looking Ahead BIO

From his devoted fans and fellow contemporary jazz superstars to the writers and producers Michael Lington works with, everyone is noticing something different about the saxophonist these days. It’s not just the extra passion in his music and performances, but a newfound sense of balance and true feeling of soul-purpose in the way the #1 Billboard charting saxophonist approaches everything in his life since love changed everything. Over the past few years, he married his wife Keri and became a family man, a devoted stepfather to her young daughter Lauren and became a first-time dad (at 50!) with the birth of his now three-year-old son Landon. With all those dynamic, inspiring shifts in his life, it’s no wonder that after more than 25 years as one of the genre’s most exhilarating artists, “Michael Lington 2.0” is a whole new man, titling his first ever EP Looking Ahead.

Calling the five track set “a reflection of all the changes I’ve gone through these past few years, the smallest amount of music with the greatest amount of importance,” it’s his first collection of original songs since 2018’s Silver Lining, which he followed with the holiday album A Foreign Affair Christmas (2019) and Alone Together (The Duets), his 2021 compilation of audio recordings from performances with various genre superstars streamed live over the StageIt platform during the pandemic. Prior to releasing Looking Ahead, Lington hit the Billboard charts with the lead singles “Play” and the recently released “Moon Goddess.”

Considering his ultra-prolific output as an artist since releasing his self-titled debut in 1997 and his 2000 breakthrough with Vivid and its hit single “Twice in a Lifetime,” one might be inclined to believe the Danish born Lington’s immersion into a whole new set of blessed life experiences – including a move to San Diego County after 32 years in Los Angeles – would spark an immediate fresh burst of creativity. But that was far from the case.

On one hand, he realizes every day how lucky he is to have this new life and a family that adores him and which he returns to after another stint on the road.  He melts when Lauren and Landon tell him, “We’ll miss you” and writes “We love you Dad” in chalk in his driveway. On the other, all these changes happened during the confusing pandemic era, when artists were sidelined from touring for years. He left his longtime community, personal support system, closest friends and largely single life to chart wholly unfamiliar territory at middle age. It was a lot to process in a relatively short period of time – leaving him to question what the road ahead musically would look like.

“Sometimes when a lot of things are going on at the same time, it takes a moment to see these things through, to find a clear path forward,” Lington says. “I had to figure out what I wanted to say as an artist in light of all the changes. For each previous album, I felt like I had a clear vision, but suddenly I didn’t. My first test was to listen to the music that inspired me as I was growing up, and by revisiting legends like Grover Washington, Jr. and David Sanborn, I realized that yes, I still love music. The passion was still there.”

The saxophonist came to realize that it was okay if he couldn’t see all the way through the proverbial woods. He chose to concentrate on the smaller steps in front of him, deciding the best approach was to take action and start moving in the right direction. For him, that meant just reaching out to writer/producers he admired and see about collaborating on new material. Written and recorded over several years – in contrast to all previous albums, which were created on a much stricter timeline – Looking Ahead is testament to Lington’s ability to power through those creative blocks and end up triumphantly on the other side. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the EP is that its five songs were co-written and co-produced approximately six months apart with four different collaborators who are among contemporary jazz’s most consistent hitmakers.

“Play” is a funked up, high spirited, perfect for summertime jam that marks Lington’s first time working with longtime friend and fellow horn master Darren Rahn. Offering an optimistic way to keep joy and hope flowing in turbulent times, the groove-intensive vibe features Paul Jackson Jr.’s blistering guitar fire and the non-stop grooves of bassist Mel Brown and drummer Tarell Martin. Jackson’s infectious jangly funk intro and later solo are highlights on the saxophonist’s latest single “Moon Goddess,” another first-time collaboration with fellow saxman David Mann, who he first met back in 1998 towards the tail end of his years touring with the late Bobby Caldwell. The track is a vibrant and explosive, rhythmically empowering track reminiscent of the classic CTI sound.

The true, heartfelt emotional core of Looking Ahead is “Keri’s Song,” a gorgeous, lilting and ultimately soaring classic styled urban jazz ballad written specifically for Lington’s wife and performed for her on their wedding day in August 2021. Relying purely on intuition, Lington called up another top composer/producer he admired yet had never worked with, two-time Grammy nominee Chris “Big Dog” Davis,” telling him he had a specific (and very special) song he wanted to write together. Immediately on board, Davis came up with the initial idea – and the two developed the song remotely. A special video has been created for the track featuring magnificent, heart-tugging footage from the wedding.

The EP also includes two tracks co-written, produced by and featuring the nylon string guitar of two-time Grammy winner Paul Brown, who last formally collaborated with Lington on the saxophonist’s 2004 album Stay With Me. Lington felt that after nearly 20 years, it was time to revisit their once fruitful musical relationship. “Til the Morning Light” has what Lington calls a “great classic feel to it,” a balmy, sensual, ultra-romantic ballad with an infectious brassy hook. Inspired by the region of L.A. he lived in when it was written, “South Bay” is driven by a sassy, strutting percussive energy that romps over an edgy, crunchy funk groove.

Lington says “Looking Ahead captures the hope and positivity in my life, and I look forward to new things with so much more knowledge about myself and love to give others. The transition from then to now was a challenge at times but once the dust settled and I took stock of all the blessings in my life, I realized how much more I like this version of myself. I am truly excited about the next part of my journey as an artist, husband, father and human being.”