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September 19, 2014

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MUSIC:

Jazz saxophonist to heat up room at Santa Fe Station

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Michael Lington

If You Go

  • Who: Michael Lington
  • When: 8 p.m. Friday
  • Where: Chrome Showroom, Santa Fe Station
  • Tickets: $15 to $25; 658-4900

Beyond the Sun

Saxophonist Michael Lington’s jazz roots run deep.

His grandfather, composer and director Otto Lington, helped bring jazz to Scandinavia in the 1930s and led bands behind Fats Waller and Josephine Baker.

“When jazz artists came to Europe, they called him to back them up,” the 40-year-old Lington said during a phone interview from Los Angeles.

Growing up in Copenhagen, Michael Lington played clarinet. When he was 15 he heard David Sanborn and switched to saxophone.

“He will always have a special place for me. When I heard him I knew the saxophone was going to be my instrument. He played a cool mix of traditional and contemporary jazz,” says Lington, who will perform Friday at Santa Fe Station.

Lington moved to the United States at 18 and bumped into Sanborn from time to time. He didn’t get to spend any quality time with him until 2006, when they were both booked on a cruise liner filled with jazz fans.

“We were able to spend a week together on the cruise,” he says. “There was a saxophone panel at one point, several saxophone players taking questions from the audience and talking about music. One of the questions to the panel from an audience member was ‘Who would you like to collaborate with?’ When it came to me I said I’d like to do a duet with David Sanborn.”

Sanborn looked at Lington and said, “Get your horn out and let’s do it.”

“It was a surreal moment for me,” Lington says.

At Friday’s concert he will perform selections from his latest album, “Heat,” which was released in 2008. Included on the CD of mostly original songs is a duet with Aaron Neville on “That’s When You Save Me.”

“My first album ever in 1997 featured a duet with Bobby Caldwell called ‘Tell It Like It Is,’ ” Lington says. “That was Aaron Neville’s first hit.”

Working directly with Neville on a recording was “a dream come true” for Lington.

“That just shows you, be careful what you wish for because it may come true,” he says.

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