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Release Date:
February 14, 2012

Reviewed by:
Bonnie Schendell

Saxophonist Michael Lington released his first solo CD back in 1997.  Fifteen years later he is still going strong and getting ready to release his seventh CD, Pure, on the Trippin N' Rhythm label. Michael is joined by notable guest artists Michael Bolton (with whom Michael has been touring for the last year or so), Lee Ritenour, Jonathan Butler, Brian Culbertson, Ray Parker Jr., Jeff Golub, Paul Jackson Jr. and many more.

The album starts with “Roadtrip,” the first single released and one in heavy rotation.  Michael reaches back to his collaborative days with Brian Culbertson on this funky tune, which features Lee Ritenour on guitar. The song is edgy and cool.  “Serenade,” is a mellow tune but gets its highlights with Torcuato Mariano's acoustic guitar and Lington's alto sax. Michael puts so much emotion into this one.  “Playtime” is a bouncy, up tempo song that seems to take me back to pop tunes of decades ago.  “Lower East Slide” continues the energy infused style and features Jeff Babko on the Wurlitzer, clavinet, and Hammond B3.  Michael Stever, who has toured extensively with Brian Culbertson, provides a great horn/trumpet arrangement. Next up is the old favorite, “Shotgun” by Autry DeWalt Mixon, better known as Junior Walker.  With Michael Bolton on vocals, Lington makes this his own and gives it his all.

“Like Old Times” really does feel like a tune from days gone by.  Lington teams up with Brian Culbertson and Ray Parker, Jr.  Bill Withers' megahit “Lovely Day” is next on board.   For some reason this is one of those selections that has been covered by smooth jazz artists many times over.There is a greatharmonica solo that adds character.  “Movin On” gives Lington the chance to show what he can do if he were in the rock world.  I can easily see this tune appealing to the masses.  “Come On Over” feels like a signature track for Lington.  The high energy of this song suits him well and will definitely be a favorite in a live setting.  I can’t wait to hear this one for myself.  The final tune, “A Simpler Time,” is quite the introspective way to close things out.  Michael, alongside Jonathan Butler’s guitar, gives a calming fell that lets your mind wander.

Pure is purely Michael Lington.  This CD and its compositions reflect what his style.  I believe that most of these tunes will transition well to concerts and hope to catch one this year.  Enjoy the sounds of Pure Michael Lington!