While it fits in with the glut of Top 40 boogaloo efforts that record companies pressured jazz artists to record in the late '60s and early '70s, Mongo Santamaria's Feelin' Alright does offer a more than decent program of covers ranging from Motown to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." Santamaria and band spike the even-keeled, groove-heavy parade of horns, Latin percussion, and rolling basslines with tasty trumpet and saxophone solos and manage to recast most of these rock and soul hits as engaging and infectious Latin-a-go-go jams. Like Willie Bobo, Santamaria does a fine job of straddling the fence between soulful interpretation and limp mood music. And though attempts at reforming rock material like Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" fall a bit short, jazz-friendly tracks like "On Broadway" come out sounding worthy of Santamaria's talent. The band's lively rendition of the title track and sophisticated takes on the Sam & Dave hit "Hold On, I'm Coming" and Jimmy Webb's perennial "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" further maintain the high standard. Although a fun record to listen to, Feelin' Alright should be passed over by newcomers for more viable first-disc choices like Fantasy's Mongo's Greatest Hits and Rhino's Skin to Skin anthology.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook