Angelo Divino: Love A to Z

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Angelo Divino

Love A to Z

(DivinoVinyl Music)

December 1, 2017

Reviewed by John Hoglund for Cabaret Scenes

Los Angeles-based crooner Angelo Divino has released his new CD, Love A to Z. In a supple baritone with some sweet inflections, he presents an assortment of stories in the key of love. Most are given a breezy, jazzy spin. Some songs are better entries than others. He is backed by terrific musicians led by Rich Eames (with Mark Winkler acting as vocal consultant). The lyrics touch on the many ups and downs of love and romanticizing romance and its foibles. While not standards, most of it is a variation on themes we’ve heard before. The songs are basically good with a few surprises, all written by Zan Overall.

While well produced, occasionally, there is a sameness to some of the songs. At times, Divino’s delivery calls for a more personal touch on profound lyrics. After all, his voice is certainly good and he’s proven himself in successful tribute shows to Sinatra and other jazz/swing outings over the last few years. In spite of some solid arrangements, the disc would be even stronger with more substance than style. It’s all about getting inside a lyric.

Quibbles aside, the lilting “Fun and Games” is a terrific upbeat, swing-jazz tuner that shows promise. It almost recalls something from Doris Day in her big band period. Divino sells this with a natural panache.
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A heartfelt ballad, “Strangers Again,” laments the end of a love affair. It is the album’s best cut, with beautiful phrasing laced with careful attention to subtle nuances highlighted by Jonathan Dane’s haunting trumpet solos that take this sensitive ballad to another level. “Flying Saucers” is a silly romp that is quite clever: “…we all know that there are no such things as flying saucers… they are optical illusions or alcoholic delusions.” An introspective “I Love You, Goodbye” is quite effective: “… now our flame starts to flicker/now our candle burns low… comes the time for goodbyes/comes the moment to go… our love was a great love… I’ll just snuff out the candle. “I Remember” is a melancholic song about looking back on that old town from long ago. With “Love Is a Place to Stay,” Divino closes this nostalgia-laden CD with a somewhat bland message about the meaning of love.

Ultimately, this an album worth listening to more than once, as it grows on the listener. There are definitely some fine songs and Divino’s vocals are an easy listen. He deserves  kudos for such a fine job on this mixed bag of new material.

The band includes: Rich Eames (piano, keyboards); Adrian Rosen (bass); Michael Rosen (drums, harmonica); Doug Webb (saxophone); and Jonathan Dane (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn).
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John Hoglund

For over 30 years, John Hoglund has been a respected entertainment writer covering cabaret, jazz, theater and recordings. His writings have appeared in numerous outlets including the Bistro Bits column for Back Stage. John moderated seminars and forums for the International Cabaret Conference At Yale. He produced many celebrity fundraisers in NYC including one of the first benefits after 9/11: “HeartSong:The Heroes' Concert” at The Bottom Line featuring 36 major stars. He co-produced “HeartSong2: The Heroes' Concert” for Katrina victims at Symphony Space and “Miracle On 35th Street” with a star-studded lineup. Other fund raising efforts include the first benefits for Broadway Cares and God's Love, We Deliver. John served on the Board of Directors of MAC for 12 years. He is well known for championing new and rising talents.