Release Date:
September 2, 2008

Reviewed by:
Bonnie Schendell

Where there’s fire, there’s heat…and this album is no exception!  After listening to Michael Lington’s latest offering, Heat, for the first time, I immediately thought “Michael is back!!”  I always think of Michael’s music as being upbeat and funky, yet emotional; a musical journey from start to finish.  Heat delivers exactly what Michael is famous for.  While his last album, A Song For You, showed his sheer talent and versatility, Heat truly allows Michael’s personality to come through and a star-studded array of musicians accompanying him didn’t hurt either.  The backup came from such notables as Vinnie Colaiuta, Greg Phillinganes, and Torcuato Mariano. Danny and Michael Sembello, Nathan East, and Brian Culbertson.  Add to that vocals by AceYoung, Aaron Neville, and Keely Hawkes, and production by Keith Olsen, Greg Phillinganes, and Matthew Hagar, along with Michael himself.

The CD kicks off with “You and I,” a get up and groove-type song reminiscent of “Show Me” from Michael’s album Stay With Me. It just dives right in with a driving force and a powerful alto sax all the way through.  Quickly the mood changes with “Chuva” featuring Torcuato Mariano on guitar.  This classic piece has a calming effect but with a little spicy Brazilian flavor.

“Ocean Drive” is fast-paced and clearly emits the feel of cruising along a scenic beach town.  A nice touch to this track is the harmonica, which adds another layer to the already full arrangement.  Remember Ace Young?  He was an American Idol finalist and absolutely nails the vocals on “Baker Street,” the 1978 hit by Gerry Rafferty.  This song truly comes together with his voice right alongside Michael’s incredibly powerful sax.  “Angelina” is the perfectly sweet song.  The serene tone of the sax surrounded by a cello and the voice of Janey Clewey make this an emotionally tender song.

“Memphis” goes back to the same feel that kicked off this album to begin with.  The driving drums from Vinnie Colaiuta pounding out the beat that follows Michael’s alto makes this a total headbopping track.  Enter Aaron Neville.  When he appears on a song, it’s destined to be a special song, and “That’s When You Save Me” is no exception.  This song showcases his soulful spirit.  For those who want the slow, romantic ballads, “Ladyland” fits the bill.  It once again lays claim to the sensitive side of Michael’s sax.  “Shout About Ya” with Keely Hawkes on vocals, takes you back to music of the dance era.  It has just enough edge to it, while keeping the smooth jazz sound.  And closing out the CD is “Nostalgia.”  The combination of Michael Lington and Michael Sembello is a treat.  This sultry ballad is a perfect way to round out this musical journey.

With Michael’s sixth album, Heat definitely will warm the hearts of all of his fans.  It takes you through so many different emotions, musical landscapes, and opens you up to so much talent, both known and up and coming.  Michael Lington IS back…he is better than ever on fire!