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Andrew D’Angelo: Mind Power

After a miraculous recovery from brain cancer, saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo returns inspired, focused and humbled

Andrew D'Angelo

Make no mistake: Andrew D’Angelo’s ingenuity resides more in his alto saxophone playing and composing than in his singing. Yet on two consecutive January nights at 58 North Six Media Labs in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, he sang “I Love You,” one of the most soul-stirring compositions in his ever-expanding repertoire.

Standing in front of his piano-less big band, the 45-year-old explained to both packed houses how the song doesn’t involve the love one feels for a significant other or a family member; rather, it deals with the love a person has for oneself, especially when faced with great personal adversity. Once the ensemble began playing a somber waltz, the wiry-framed D’Angelo approached the microphone and crooned such pithy verses as “If I’m gone from here/I love you” in a charmingly flat tenor with questionable intonation. After trombonist Josh Roseman delivered a lamenting aside, D’Angelo grabbed his saxophone, tilted it upward and offered a eulogistic solo distinguished by his luminous, incisive tone. Afterward, for a moment, he looked like a spirited Pentecostal preacher who had delivered his most heartfelt sermon. The audience appeared transfixed by the song’s emotional immediacy, and rewarded D’Angelo with rousing applause.

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