By Patte Purcell
I’ve seen Michael D’Angelo perform once and met him numerous times. He’s a dashingly handsome man with his beautiful wife and partner Patti. His show is one of the most popular in the desert. He’s not only a vocalist but an entertainer.
He came to the last Celebrity Jam to see his nephew percussionist, Mark Gagliano perform. He mentioned he also sings jazz so I thought I’d do an interview to find out more about him. What I learned surprised me.
Although D’Angelo is an Italian name, he is half Puerto Rican and has some impressive Latin jazz chops.
He began singing at the age of 9 in New York City performing ‘Doo-waps’ on the street corner. He moved to California and started singing with a group of 10 musicians called Mestizo, which means ‘a mix of races’. They performed Latin Jazz. They even opened for Tierra in the 80’s (they were school classmates). Mestizo opened for Poncho Sanchez and in a turnabout, Los Lobos opened for them.
When I pressed him for his most memorable moment he said it would be the time they played for 3,000 people at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in a tribute to Cannibal and the Headhunters. They received a standing ovation. The other moment was backstage at the Chicano Music Awards harmonizing with his school chums from Cannibal and the Headhunters, a band that opened for the Beatles.
Michael also had a career as a probation officer and upon his retirement it afforded him the luxury of being able to pursue his music career full time. He and his wife moved to the desert 10 years ago. It allows him to be selective. He enjoys singing and performing. He recently began singing at Chef Georgies on Washington Street on Tuesday evenings. He does a lot of charity events and loves to give back. He also performs in Country Clubs and both Sun City and Shadow Hills ballrooms.
He’s planning to go into the studio in the near future to record a CD. He said it will be a mix of 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, the great American classics. It will include current music and some Latin rhythms. He wants to mix it up, with songs from the Righteous Brothers to Tom Jones. This will be a first for him. When we discussed his goals he said that he and his wife would like to take the time to travel and be with their kids and grandkids. He’s been so busy with his music career that he hasn’t taken the time to do that. He’s going to play it by ear and ‘take it as it comes.’ He is enthused about his wife Patti. She is the best at communicating with members in the audience, collecting email, keeping track of the calendar and scheduling events. She helps him with his choice of songs for specific events.
Michael will be performing in the next Celebrity Jam at Outdoor Resorts Palms Springs and will be doing his signature song “Unchained Melody.” According to reports, it brings a standing ovation every time! He’ll also be performing a cha cha version of “Fly Me to the Moon.” For more information, email Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org
Patte Purcell – Muze Muzic