Angelo Divino: Love A to Z

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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.

Elliot Zwiebach

Elliot Zwiebach loves the music of The Great American Songbook and classic Broadway, with a special affinity for Rodgers and Hammerstein. He's been a professional writer for 45 years and a cabaret reviewer for five. Based in Los Angeles, Zwiebach has been exposed to some of the most talented performers in cabaret—the famous and the not-so-famous—and enjoys it all. Reviewing cabaret has even pushed him into doing some singing of his own — a very fun and liberating experience that gives him a connection with the performers he reviews.