Michael Lington – Soul Appeal

Soul-AppealMichael Lington is finished recording his new CD. It features guest R&B vocalist, Kenny Lattimore (pictured) and Ryan Shaw. The CD also features an all star cast of musicians like; Freddie Washington, Teddy Campbell, Paul Jackson Jr, Ray Parker Jr., Lenny Castro and many more. The album is produced by Barry Eastmond and recorded/mixed by Ray Bardani. It’s being released on April 8th 2014.

Soul Appeal features nine vibrant, hip and contemporary yet drenched-in-retro-cool originals (all co-written with Eastmond) and imaginative re-workings of the King Curtis classics “In The Pocket” and a blazing, horn section infused “Memphis Soul Stew.” The latter includes a playful rap by Campbell that approximates the way Curtis introduced each instrument into the mix on the original recording. Soul Appeal also includes two fresh vocal ballads with renowned Grammy nominated vocalists that take everyone back to the days when Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett reigned: “Gonna Love You Tonight” (featuring Kenny Lattimore) and “Leave Me You” (co-written and sung by Ryan Shaw.)

The Eastmond/Lington instrumentals on Soul Appeal begin with the jamming and funky, classic Stax-flavored opening title track, whose swirl of vibrant sax melody, brooding organ and sizzling brass sets the stage for what Lington proudly calls “a different kind of ride.” He calls the infectious and bluesy, easy rolling “Taking Off” “the centerpiece of what we were trying to achieve, the twang of the Memphis vibe,” while as its title promises, “Uptown Groove” finds Lington soaring over organ and Rhodes in a brass fired landscape James Brown could groove in.

The silky and romantic “Manhattan Nights” blends Lington’s torchy sax lead with a weepy lead guitar line and solo by Phil Hamilton that’s reminiscent of the great Steve Cropper’s work. After another emotional and bluesy ballad, “Going Home,” Lington and company swing back up for the jaunty funk-shuffle “Double Down.” Soul Appeal wraps in a gorgeous stripped down, heart on the sleeve place, with the beautiful Eastmond-Lington piano-sax duet “Follow Your Heart.” This was recorded almost as a bonus track after the sessions wrapped and everyone else had gone home.

Many instrumental contemporary jazz artists tout their latest recording as “different” or “something unique” when it’s more or less a variation on their trademark thing. In the case of Soul Appeal, Lington will let two legendary musical voices verify the reality that these sessions don’t just rattle that cage but joyfully transcend it. Lenny Castro, whose thousands of recording credits include Sanborn, The Jacksons, Eric Clapton, George Benson and Elton John, thanked the saxman after the sessions with the words, “My soul is so musically satisfied.”

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: