Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Michael Lington: Everything Must Change

Cheryl Hughey By

Sign in to view read count
Music is just the universal language. —Michael Lington
Moving to the US from a successful touring career in his native Denmark was risky. Over 13 years later, saxophonist Michael Lington has graduated from being a working musician to being a performing artist on tour with jazz fireball Brian Culbertson. Lington is well on his way to becoming a major influence in the smooth jazz world.

His most current album, Everything Must Change, is produced and collaborated with Brian Culbertson and Gregg Karukas. Pianist Jeff Lorber also contributes by co-writing and performing on a couple of songs. Lington thrives on interaction from other artists. “I love to collaborate . . . when you go and write with someone else, it gives it a whole new twist. [It’s] a whole lot of fun to collaborate with people.” However, it takes a good relationship to co-write with someone. “Writing is so personal that if you are sitting in a room and you have no chemistry, you won’t get anything done.”

Released in 2002, Everything Must Change is combination of R&B with smooth jazz undertones from off the beaten path. Songs are a sensual mix of playable melodies. Lington takes great care in choosing the songs for each album. “One of the things that is most important is to have high quality songs. I take a bit longer to do albums than other artists. I find it is so important for the songs to be correct,” said Lington. Lington admits that he doesn’t necessarily write for radio format, either. “I just do what I do and hope the people like it.” Audiences are receiving Lington well. In April 2003, Everything Must Change went Top 5 on both national smooth jazz radio and internet charts.

Touring with pianist/trombonist Culbertson wasn’t a big style leap for Lington. Having already worked together on Everything Must Change, they have a great relationship. Lington has a lot of respect for Culbertson as a bandleader, composer and producer. “Brian is such a great showman. There is so much for me to learn from that,” said Lington before a recent Chicago show. Tapping into Culbertson’s audience has enabled Lington a chance to broaden his own fan base. “This tour is a rich blessing for me.”

Lington is currently writing new material for his next album that is expected to be released in 2004. The style will be freer with less structured songs than in the past. Going for a more edgy sound, Lington would like to experiment with an improvisational style and possibly do something “off the wall.” However, Lington doesn’t plan on following the current movement towards chill, but it will be a sound all his own. Remaining true to his personal musical vision is important. “Music is just the universal language. If you portray emotion and honesty in what you do, people will pick up on it,” reflected Lington.

Making his home in Los Angeles, Lington still finds the time to relax in several ways. “I go water skiing every chance I can.” Lington will frequently meet friends in his speedboat out on the water. After skiing for a bit, everyone will help create a gourmet lunch on the lake. An avid cook, Lington loves to experiment with Italian dishes. However, not all his friends are as well versed. Lington laughed as he shared a story about a time when one of the guys tried to cook with a blowtorch. Scuba diving is his biggest hobby with a passion towards investigating shipwrecks. While touring, Lington has enjoyed diving in such places as the Caribbean, Catalina and Hawaii.

Currently under new management, Lington is looking forward to launching a tour of his own. Being on the road with Culbertson in 2003 has limited his ability to perform as a solo act. However, he has managed to fit in quite a few independent gigs while working with Culbertson. When asked where he would like to be in five years, Lington humbly reflected that he would like to “be an artist that is recognized and respected for what I do.” Being true to his own vision and keeping a realistic outlook appears to be two of his greatest strengths. After all, “Everybody has to change in order to keep on growing,” said Lington.



comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Down to the Bone Plays Capital Jazz Fest Contemporary Vibes
Down to the Bone Plays Capital Jazz Fest
by Cheryl Hughey
Published: June 12, 2004
Read Smooth Jazz Jam II Contemporary Vibes
Smooth Jazz Jam II
by AAJ Staff
Published: May 2, 2004
Read A Taste of Spring Contemporary Vibes
A Taste of Spring
by Cheryl Hughey
Published: April 18, 2004
Read Four For February Contemporary Vibes
Four For February
by Cheryl Hughey
Published: February 22, 2004
Read Richard Smith:  Living 'Soulidified' Contemporary Vibes
Richard Smith: Living 'Soulidified'
by Cheryl Hughey
Published: January 27, 2004
Read Dave Koz:  A Holiday Tradition Contemporary Vibes
Dave Koz: A Holiday Tradition
by Cheryl Hughey
Published: December 10, 2003
Read "Jazz House Kids:  The House that Jazz Built" What is Jazz? Jazz House Kids: The House that Jazz Built
by Bob Kenselaar
Published: April 6, 2018
Read "Cecil Taylor Live in Padua, 1975" Radio Cecil Taylor Live in Padua, 1975
by Centro d'Arte Padova
Published: April 29, 2018
Read "Chris Isaak at The Paramount in Huntington, NY" Live Reviews Chris Isaak at The Paramount in Huntington, NY
by Christine Connallon
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "The Nels Cline 4 At Higher Ground" Live Reviews The Nels Cline 4 At Higher Ground
by Doug Collette
Published: July 8, 2018
Read "Ian Patterson's Best Releases of 2017" Best of / Year End Ian Patterson's Best Releases of 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 2, 2018