Occasionally a fresh voice unfolds in the world of smooth jazz on this trip we have Alexandria, VA native trumpeter extraordinaire Lin Rountree debuts with “Groovetree” on BDK Records. Lin comes to us with an impressive resume, consider this he’s so blessed to attend an HBCU college Florida A&M University and to top it off he had the honor of playing with fabulous “Marching 100” marching band. After taking a snapshot of his esteemed qualifications, one can’t help but pay attention in detail to what’s about to come to life musically from Lin Rountree.



The Players:  Tim Bowman ~ guitar, Al Turner ~ bass, Ron Otis ~drums, Dana Davis ~ programming/keyboards/synthesizers, Darryl Dixon & LaFruance ~ guitar, Leslie Nelson ~ vocals, Billy Meadows ~ vocal arrangement, D’Andre Thomas ~ bass, Bamm Davis ~ Piano, Brandon Williams ~ Programming/keyboards, Tony Gordon ~ keyboard  & Lin Rountree ~ trumpet/ flugelhorn/vocal arrangement, Produced by Billy Meadows, Dana Davis and Lin Rountree © 2005 BDK Records


Rountree and his production team called smoothjazz guitarist Tim Bowman to the studio to add his touch too “For Your Love” the opening track on “Groovetree”.  Yes, this quest appearance by Bowman has indeed paid its dividends in full because Rountree is beginning to savor the benefits by getting airplay at smoothjazz radio stations across the country. While listening too “For Your Love” I discovered that Rountree’s tonality is quite superb as a flugelhornist his voice here accentuates the flavor and quality of this composition (an throughout the recording) giving it just right measure of color, shades and textures.


“Everyday” comes in at the second spot swaying and boppin’ soulfully side-to-side in rhythmic and poetic motion. Lin sketches each note with the proficiency of an architect blowing his muted trumpet/flugelhorn effectively without the effects of obtrusive nuances drawing the listener into the fabric of the ambient urban jazz grooves of Rountree.


Rountree’s tonal quality on the flugelhorn continues to vibrate on “Into The Night” yes his voice is certainly a positive asset for him. His radiant sound stimulates your soul therefore, getting you in the mood for a cozy and romantic evening for two.


The title cut “Groovetree” switches gears with an up-tempo jam showcasing the flipside side of Rountree’s prowess as he blows the muted-trumpet layered with bright and colorful shades rising slightly above the groove assuring the listener his voice has depth.


“The Message” is by the way the only vocal selection by Rountree. The beautiful vocal stylings by Ms. Leslie Nelson coupled with the Rountree’s affection for soulful and stimulating music is absolutely refreshing! What’s so amazing about “The Message” from a lyrical perspective is that Rountree didn’t fall into the trap that most smoothjazz artist allude too these days by writing abrasive and uninviting lyrics, thank you so much!


Driving while listening too the next cut appropriately titled “Bio-Funk”, could easily become hazardous too your welfare. Reason, you must be attentive, and mindful that you’re driving and not kickin’ back at the crib with the peeps cause you could very well in up getting the unwarranted attention. Seriously, I dig this groove folks; Rountree’s playing is praiseworthy anchored by the talented Turner, Davis and Dixon takes the groove of “Bio-Funk” to another level.


Sonically the vibe on “Groovetree” is still on course layered with the textures of urban jazz, with an occasional twist of R&B undertones balances this exquisite musical palette. The next track “Villicious” doesn’t waver by straying off the path of familiarity as Lin’s muted-trumpet wraps you into the elegance of his anointed voice.


“Candie” comes in at the 8th spot shifting gears with just the right antidote with riveting hooks and spicy urban rhythms featuring Rountree on the flugelhorn/trumpet and synthesizers. The talented Al Turner on the bass, and co-producer Dana Davis works the keys and programming accents this relentless groove!


Rountree has definitely found his place in the framework of today’s music with his focus locked into the inspiring melodies and infectious urban flavored jazz this time on a track called “Akire”. This mid-tempo groove embraces the essence of Rountree’s writing and playing style; again Lin returns too the muted-trumpet blowing with precision and purpose accompanied once again by Dana Davis.


 The final selection titled “Lullaby for Renarta” caresses your soul with the expressions of intimacy with textures provided by keyboardist Tony Gordon and of course Lin’s beautiful phrasings makes this a perfect ending.


Lin Rountree’s debut “Groovetree” has certainly been a pleasurable listening experience for me, one of the most compelling attributes about Rountree is that he can not only play, he wrote or co-wrote all the songs, which is a rarity especially for a debut artist these days. Rountree’s tone is lyrically attractive; his compositions have substance mixed with maturity, vision and purpose. “Groovetree” should easily surpass the boundaries of the smooth jazz by blending into R&B and contemporaryjazz genres without any difficulty, thanks for sharing your music with us Lin Rountree … all the best!




q       Visit Lin Rountree’s web space and listen to samples: www.linrountree.com

q       Purchase at www.amazon.com