Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Angelo Divino's Love A to Z

I wasn't looking forward to reviewing an album called Love A to Z: Angelo Divino Sings the Many Facets of Love--unless, of course, it was released in 1960. But this is 2018, and I hope that whoever came up with this title was trying to be just a little ironic or nostalgic. Just look at this guy with his snazzy clothes and perfectly coiffed hair, walking along the beach and singing songs of love. Oh, brother.

But I was pleasantly surprised when I played this album for the first time. I know I was rough on Bob Mundy in the last review--I just think he's more pop than jazz. Angelo Divino, if that is his real name, sounds a lot like Bob Mundy but with one crucial difference--he does have a little bit of that edge I'm looking for when it comes to jazz. Despite the hair, he seems a little more mussed up, a little more seasoned. It sounds like he's been listening to Sinatra his entire life and understands how important inflection is, and how to sound more wry and wise than heartbroken.

Another plus is the sound quality here. I didn't mention this in the Bob Mundy album, which sounded really nice and clean, but I'm impressed with the sonics here--especially in the low frequency department. Adrian Rosen's bass is deep, full and ripe and really stands out. If you're trying to impress your audiophile buddies with the natural and full sound of a double bass, this is a great place to start. Keyboardist Rich Eames, drummer and harmonica player Michael Rosen and horn players Doug Webb and Jonathan Dane are all accomplished and perfect as well.

If I have a bone to pick, it might be with some of the song selections. The opener "Hey Life," with its constant affirmations of "Yeah, life!" is a little too happy-go-lucky to be taken seriously, and the sci-fi synthesizer conceits in "Flying Saucers" are totally out of place and goofy AF. (This is perhaps the one way where I prefer Bob Mundy's relative seriousness.) But there are plenty of moments where singer and band come together perfectly and swing like they mean it.

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