1976's Feelings is an atypical set for Milt Jackson. Usually the epitome of cool jazz hipness, the title track finds the music's pre-eminent vibraphonist squandering his talents on Morris Albert's gloppy pop hit to the accompaniment of an uninspired, violin-heavy string section. Both concept and execution are dire, although Jackson does perk up briefly towards the end when he finally breaks away from the insipid melody into a fun duet with flutist Jerome Richardson. The remainder of the album picks up significantly from that abysmal beginning; producer Norman Granz and arranger Jimmy Jones wisely keep the orchestra well in the background, adding the occasional lush, Ellington-like flourish at the beginnings and endings of the tunes but otherwise staying out of the way of Jackson's sublimely melodic vibes. A pair of Brazilian tunes, Antonio Carlos Jobim's relatively rare ballad "If You Never Come to Me" and Abel Ferreira's "The Day It Rained," are among the highlights, putting the flutes of Richardson and Hubert Laws, as well as Tommy Flanagan's skillful piano, in their best settings. It's not the average Milt Jackson album, but after a potentially devastating start, Feelings turns out not to be half bad.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason