Forget what you think you know about Michael Lington. Now that he’s gone mainstream with his career and consciousness shifting new album Soul Appeal, he’s full steam ahead like no one’s ever heard him before, blazing a fresh, innovative road for himself with a freewheeling immersion into the heart of the 60’s and 70’s Memphis Soul vibe. From his 1997 self-titled breakthrough album through 2012’s star-studded Pure, the charismatic saxophonist has wowed and surprised his fans before. But he’s never had more fun, played more loose, solo’d more intensely or improvised this expansively.
All of the beloved saxophonist’s seven previous acclaimed albums, countless hit radio singles and hundreds of awe inspiring live performances over the past 15 years are now simply prelude to the fresh energy and live in the studio excitement he created at Los Angeles’ legendary Sunset Sound with veteran R&B/pop producer Barry Eastmond (Anita Baker, George Benson, Billy Ocean, Yolanda Adams), Engineer Ray Bardani (Luther Vandross, Beyonce, David Sanborn) and a handpicked group of his favorite musicians. These include a core pocket of Freddie Washington (bass) and Teddy Campbell (drums), organist Shedrick Mitchell, guitarists Paul Jackson, Jr., Ray Parker, Jr., Phil Hamilton and percussionist Lenny Castro. Eastmond contributes to the retro sound with Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer and piano.
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).
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