Sunday, September 03, 2006

Recent Soundtrack

I've been on an Italian kick the last week or two, listening repeatedly to the first three of these.

Paolo Conte Reveries (Nonesuch 2003) - Italian singer-songwriter Conte has a gruff voice along the lines of Louis Armstrong or Tom Waits, and some of his music incorporates similar jazz and folk elements. Think also Yves Montand, Piaf and a French/Italian cafe sound. The title tune, "Reveries," which he actually sings in French, is one of the most beautiful tunes I've heard in a while. La Reina says "I Giardini Pensili Hanno Fatto Il Loro Tempo" sounds like a carnival in outer space, and she hits it on the head. Reveries is a mixture of the atmospheric, joyful, meditative, and rollicking. With great lyrics that come translated in the liner notes. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Paolo Conte The Best of Paolo Conte (Nonesuch 2000) - Though Conte has been around since the early 70s and was already a fairly well-known international star, it took this CD to finally bring him some attention in the U.S. A good selection of some of his classic tunes. Some will recognize "Via Con Me," which was used in French Kiss (1995), an underrated romantic comedy (Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline) with a great soundtrack. RECOMMENDED.

Gianmaria Testa Extra-Muros (La chant du monde 1996) - Testa also has a raspy voice and strong jazz and folk elements, mixed with a cabaret style. He's a little jazzier than Conte, and some songs here, especially track 2, "Un Po' Di La Del Mare," actually reminds me a lot of Bruce Cockburn circa Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws, particularly the bass work. Like Conte, he's also a poet, and his lyrics, while sparser than Conte's, are quite strong. I said Conte's "Reveries" was one of the most beautiful tunes I'd heard in a long time - the other would be the opening song on Extra-Muros, "Per accompagnarti," an achingly lovely song. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Gianmaria Testa Altre Latitudini (La chant du monde 2004) - I just got this one and haven't listened to it as much, but it also seems quite strong. RECOMMENDED.

Various Artists Italian Cafe
(Putumayo World Music 2005) - This is a fun CD and what eventually led me to Gianmaria Testa; it includes two of his tunes. A little uneven at times and not as poetic as Conte or Testa's albums, but a good one for exploring some of this music. It also has two great tracks by Paolo Conte's brother, Giorgio. Alas, I haven't been able to find one of his CDs yet.

No comments: