We have to say that Lin Rountree‘s Fluid album was one of the best Smooth Jazz album in the past few years. Now he is back with a new one for 2023. It is called The Message, and you get 12 tracks with the trumpet as the lead instrument. Guests include Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis, Ryan La Vallete, Algebra Blessett, Gary Johnson, and Greg Manning.
Review – ‘The Message’ by Lin Rountree
The set starts off with Justified. You will notice the New Jack Swing beat, which gives the track that extra bounce. This song is all about Rountree’s horns, the lead the hook and the change is horn heavy, and we are not mad at that!
Solid is up next. Ryan La Vallete if featured, and this is another groovy song with a funky beat. Rountree’s trumpet is bouncing off that beat, and La Vallete can really strum that guitar. This is a track that will put a smile on your face.
It’s You, in our opinion, is the best song that Lin has recorded. The change (the part right before the hook) and the hook arrangements are outstanding. The bass adds that extra layer of goodness, and you may have to play this twice to soak it all in.
We pick up the pace with A Little Closer. This is a Greg Manning produced track, and it is alright if you just want to get up and dance. Once again the trumpet arrangement is stellar, with some great ad libs toward the end.
Algebra Blessett is the featured vocalist on One You. Some people have been saying that R&B is dead. Actually, it is not, as it is living in the Smooth Jazz Genre. Tracks like this prove that point. If this was released as a single, it would chart on the R&B side.
To listen to the track To The Top is like being on a rollercoaster. There are several twists and turns here, and we are all about it. It starts out mellow, then on to a mid-tempo feel, with Ryan La Vallete adding some inspiring guitar play. After the song builds up a little, they break it all the way down. After that, they bring the energy, only to break it down again. They bring back the mid-tempo groove to close it out.
You know how artists like to add those interlude breaks between songs? Well, Can’t Wait is like a six minute interlude. That is until those guitar licks wake you up at the end.
The title track, The Message, is next. Gary Johnson is featured on guitar, and this is a slow jam that has a little bounce to it. Coming in at seven minutes, it gives the musicians time to do their thing. This track solidifies Rountree’s place as the top trumpet player on the scene right now.
Nite Of Passion is a Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis production, and it has some interesting sounds throughout. Rountree is on point with the horn play, and the bassline really sets the tone as this track will be one of the standout pieces on the album.
It seems every Jazz album has at least one ‘jam session’ track, one where all of the musicians get to shine. Magic Hour is that track. Everything just comes together, leaving us with a versatile song that can be played at any occasion.
If you are ready for a little funk, then Back In The Day will do it for you. We are loving the horn arrangements, and do not sleep on the keys, as they are sort of in the background, but they really complete the song.
The album concludes with Tree’s Groove. This is a track has an R&B base, and it just shows of Rountree’s range as an artist. Something with a little different feel than the rest of the tracks on the album.
The Message is another winner for Lin Rountree. You can stream it in its entirety through your favorite service.