With his sleek look, hip, edgy "now" attitude, and charm and charisma to burn, Michael Lington has helped define the 2000s contemporary urban jazz experience. Fresh off the success of A Song for You, his critically acclaimed 2006 collection of '70s pop covers featuring lush arrangements and a full orchestra, the Copenhagen native - who became an official citizen of the U.S. on March 21, 2008, 18 years after emigrating from Denmark - gets back to his sensual funk roots, turning up the Heat big time on his highly anticipated Nu Groove debut. Beyond his trademark mix of cool and explosive instrumentals, the Copenhagen native is crossing over into the mainstream pop/adult contemporary realm with two key vocal collaborations: "That's When You Save Me," an original track penned by hot young songwriter Claude Kelly (Leona Lewis) that the saxman performs with soul legend Aaron Neville, and a rock-edged twist on Gerry Rafferty's classic "Baker Street" with former American Idol finalist (and Grammy nominated songwriter) Ace Young. Lington co-produced seven of the tracks with legendary session keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, and three other cuts are helmed by Keith Olsen, who's vibed with everyone from Pat Benatar and Whitesnake to Fleetwood Mac. Lington wrote the high energy "Shout About Ya" with the Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe-nominated team of Allan Rich and Jud Friedman, and penned three songs with hitmakers Michael and Danny Sembello: the uptempo and summery (think: fun in the sun in South Beach) "Ocean Drive," the beautiful ballad "Nostalgia," and the breezy, Brazilian flavored "Chuva," which means "rain" in Portuguese. Interesting aside: Michael Sembello travels to Brazil all the time and is good friends with the grandson of legendary composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. The composition of "Chuva" began on the vintage piano where the elder Jobim composed his classic "The Girl from Ipanema." "Chuva" features an authentic Rio touch by popular guitarist Torcuato Mariano, who was born in Buenos Aires but raised in Brazil. Lington also gives exposure to two up and coming female vocalists, U.K. born Keely Hawkes (whose voice graces "Shout About Ya") and Nashville based Janey Clewer. Lington echoed the dead-on sentiment about the cool, fresh, and freewheeling approach to his new recording (easily one of the best genre albums of 2008) when he said, "I feel like I've let loose like never before, almost as if I was onstage doing a show when I was recording in the studio." It's a definite upswing after his low-key trip down memory lane on A Song for You.
All Music Guide