By Anthony J. Machcinski
Music lovers looking to cherish the oldies will have their opportunity on April 25 when the band Park Avenue plays at the brand new Riva Blue in Lyndhurst.
Park Avenue was created three years ago and consists of keyboard player John Lepore, drummer Mark Sole, bassist Mike Cardinale, guitarist Orlando Sanzari and singers Bob D’Angelo, George Kistner, Joe Caporella and Mike Fede.
While the band itself is green in terms of experience playing as a group, the individuals who make up the band all benefit from decades of performing throughout the area. Members of the group have played with such bands as Sidewalk Symphony, Jersey Sound, and the Russ Marlow Show Band.
“We perform music from the ’40s through the ’70s,” said D’Angelo, adding that the group features songs from bands such as The Duprees, The Four Seasons and even some Motown hits.
D’Angelo fell in love with music at a young age, carrying on his dad’s passion.
“My father played the guitar, and he used to come to my school and play,” D’Angelo said. “I played the guitar in Natural High (the younger D’Angelo’s first band) and I used to sing on the corner when I was young.”
D’Angelo became a singer after listening to much of the music of the ’60s and ’70s.
“I said to myself, ‘I want to learn these harmony parts,’” D’Angelo said. “I used to sing the harmony parts in the record. I’ve always heard music since I was a tot. It was just in the blood.”
D’Angelo’s career continued to grow and by 1974, he had started his first band, Natural High, and began singing at several local venues including the Jetty and Big Joe’s Pub, both in Bloomfield.
“I just love singing and I love music,” D’Angelo said. “I just love entertaining.”
The band has played at many of the area’s best locations, including the Whiskey Café in Lyndhurst, The Chandelier in Belleville and will open Riva Blue.
“You really have to hear us to appreciate (our harmonies),” D’Angelo said. “People come up to us after shows and thank us and tell us that we were really great.”
The band’s harmonies have the power to send lovers of the oldies back in time on a musical adventure.
On the band’s cover of Mel Carter’s “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me,” D’Angelo, Fede and Kistner all harmonize behind the vocals of Caporella, creating the soothing, romantic croon that Carter intended the song to hold.
The band also thrills on Jackie Wilson’s ’50s classic “Lonely Teardrops.”
During Park Avenue’s cover, D’Angelo takes the lead while Fede, Kistner and Caporella harmonize behind him. Even with the passing of decades since Wilson released “Lonely Teardrops,” Park Avenue helps breathe life into a song that may have fallen by the wayside over time.
For D’Angelo, getting out and performing in front of large crowds is the ultimate pleasure.
“There’s nothing like getting yourself out there,” D’Angelo explained. “We prefer the larger crowds, naturally, but we just like being out there singing.”
D’Angelo said the band has several tour dates already booked throughout the summer and will continue to perform songs from their most recent CD, “Back in the Day.”
D’Angelo hopes that the band will continue to expand its horizons and perform at new venues, including some outside the state.
“We’re working on trying to get up to the Poconos,” D’Angelo said. “They just opened up a few new places up there. Atlantic City is always another possibility.”
Park Avenue will play Riva Blue in Lyndhurst on Friday, April 25, at 9 p.m., and will follow that up with several performances at The Whiskey Café in Lyndhurst and The Essex Bar & Grill in Bloomfield.
Riva Blue is located at 525 Riverside Ave. in Lyndhurst above King’s Court. For more information on Park Avenue, including its CD “Back in the Day,” visit the band’s website at www.parkavenj.com.