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Angelo Divino: Love A to Z

| November 8, 2017

Angelo Divino

Love A to Z

Tom Rolla’s Gardenia, West Hollywood, CA, November 2, 2017

Reviewed by Elliot Zwiebach for Cabaret Scenes

Angelo Divino

Put a microphone in front of Angelo Divino and you’re sure to hear some smooth croonin’.

Divino performs with a twinkle in his eye, a laid-back polish in his delivery, and an easy-going charm—with both the audience and his musicians—that make for a very entertaining performance.

He was at the top of his game in an evening of songs, all by composer-lyricist Zan Overall, that ran the gamut from simple, basic love to reincarnation to space aliens. Ten of the 11 songs are on his new CD, Love A to Z.

One of the show’s highlights was a soft ballad called “About Last Night,” sung with exquisite expressiveness about an affair with potential—enhanced by a powerful trumpet solo by Jonathan Dane. In another contemplative number called “I Remember,” Divino sang passionately about a time when life seemed much sweeter, with a terrific harmonica solo by Michael Rosen. His vocal was unforced and sincere on “For Now She Loves Me,” about the satisfaction of someone you’ve loved for a long time finally returning the emotion.

In a lighter moment, Divino said he believes in “angels and space beings” as part of his introduction to “Flying Saucers,” a novelty number questioning the existence of UFOs (“There’s no such thing as flying saucers/Now why won’t those fool things go away?”), with effective backing from singer Courtney Cook squeaking and beeping to simulate alien sounds, as well as a strong saxophone solo from Joe Mehrabians.

Delving deeper into other emotions, Divino performed “Fun and Games,” a jazzy number that tells the story of the downslide of a relationship—enhanced by a solid piano solo by musical director Rich Eames—and “Strangers Again,” about the regret of love found and then lost, which the singer called one of Overall’s best.

Following a toast to Overall, who was in the audience, Divino invited the 91-year-old up to the mic to sing what the songwriter described as a love story about reincarnation—“Then As Now, Now As Then”—which he performed with an earnest delivery in a gritty voice that got stronger as the song progressed.

The evening ended on a powerful note with Divino’s effective delivery of a song about monogamy called “Love Is a Place to Stay,” followed by a thoughtful take on the upbeat “Too Late?,” about the possibility of recapturing a lost love, which he said came to Overall in a dream.

In addition to Rosen, the evening’s musicians included  Adrian Rosen on bass, and Jake Voelz sitting in on drums when Rosen did his harmonica solo.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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