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June 1999

Chuck Mangione
The Feeling's Back
Blue Note Records

Don't let the title fool you--on the likable new release The Feeling's Back, pop music's First Flugelhorn Chuck Mangione isn't just trading on his 1978 smash, Feels So Good. In fact, the reference may be more tongue-in-cheek than anything, considering Mangione's good natured self-mockery as a reoccurring "celebrity guest" on the irreverent Fox animated sitcom, King of the Hill. True, the romantic, lithe line movement and pretty melodic hooks that set the stage for so many other pop instrumentalists are still there, but there are rich world-beat elements and reverent classic jazz layers here that the casual Mangione fan might not anticipate. Where "Mountain Flight" runs a light-as-air melody over a gentle samba, "Aldovio" presents an earthy, percussive tango, highlighted by Chuck's sliding, teasing lead line. An evocative cover of Jobim's "Fotografia" finds the hornmeister sweeping a gentle, mellow melody over a light Brazilian sway, creating the sensation of being gently guided across a dance floor. Other highlights include the chugging, rapid-fire "Maracangalha," and an introspective club jazz-styled read of "La Vie en Rose" that turns the classic tune inside out. Setting Mangione's stretched out melody against light piano falls and brushed percussion reinvents the piece as a more expansive emotive experience-sure to leave listeners with a feeling of haunted romance.

Originally published in June 1999
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