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Pop - Released July 1, 2016 | Universal Music Italia srL.
As Paolo Conte entered his third active decade as a solo artist, his discography went the same way as those of other Italian songwriters such as Francesco De Gregori, he systematically alternated studio albums with live releases and compilations. Still, considering the significant jazz component of his music and the excellent musicianship of his collaborators, Conte's live albums will always hold enough interest, even for those familiar with his studio work. Tournée documents Conte's European tours between 1991 and 1993, and it was recorded in Hamburg, Brussels, Wien, Den Haag, Valencia, Monte Carlo, Enschede, and Paris -- anywhere but in Italy, in fact. The generous 18-track repertoire draws strongly from 1984's Paolo Conte and 1990's Parole d'amore Scritte a Macchina (curiously, nothing from his last album, 1992's 900, is included), and it wisely favors the more upbeat, swinging material rather than the ballads -- Conte's albums usually feature half of each. Conte's band is mostly made up of the same sessionists that gave a distinctive flavor to his '90s albums, among them the rhythm section of bassist Jino Touche and drummer Daniele Di Gregorio, as well as guitarist Danny Piri, and multi-instrumentalist Max Pitzianti. The female background singer quartet of Ginger Brew, Rama Brew, Maria Short, and Julie Brennan deserves special mention, as they positively shine throughout this album, especially on the closer "Bye, Music." This is one of three new songs included in Tournée, together with the instrumental opening "Ouverture Alla Russa," and the French-sung "Rêveries." All three are impressive additions to the Conte canon, and a further incentive to seek out this fine collection. A companion piece to this record, the double-CD Tournée, Vol. 2, was released in 1998, featuring performances of songs that had never previously appeared in any other Paolo Conte live album. © Mariano Prunes /TiVo
Pop - Released March 15, 1985 | WM Italy
This first Paolo Conte live collection is an ideal introduction to one of Italy's most unique performers. Recorded both in Italy and in France, a testimony to Conte's established transnational appeal, this recording constitutes an excellent summary of the first decade of his career. Although he only gathered the courage to start his solo career after working ten years as a professional songwriter, Conte is a natural showman and his music, with its strong music hall influences, is clearly made for the stage. Always a perfectionist, for this outing Conte surrounds himself with a cadre of Italy's finest sessionmen: bassist Ares Tavolazzi, drummer Ellade Bandini, guitarist Jimmy Villoti, saxophonist and bandleader Antonio Marangolo, and keyboardist Mimmo Turone. All of the above (plus producer Renzo Fantini) had frequently contributed to Conte's studio recordings and were thus perfectly in synch with his musical vision. Appropriately, the husky vocalist-stomping pianist and his band never miss a step, as they positively enjoy themselves nonchalantly breezing through 18 classics from the Conte repertoire. All of his best-known songs are here, including "Genova per Noi," "Via con Me," "Bartali," "Un Gelato al Limon," "La Topolino Amaranto," and "Onda su Onda." As a bonus, there is also the first appearance on a Conte album of "Azzurro," a 1968 hit for Adriano Celentano written by Conte and Vito Pallavicini. As an introduction to the artist, Concerti, or any other Conte live album, is arguably better than a greatest-hits package and, in fact, this record functioned as such until the first official Paolo Conte compilation appeared in 1992. The only caveat with Concerti has to do with its compact disc edition, since the sound of the 1989 digitally mastering is rather dim. In addition, this album was originally released as a double long-player, and the CD version loses two great tracks, "Sono Qui con Te Sempre Più Solo," and "Dal Loggione." © Mariano Prunes /TiVo
International Pop - Released January 1, 1981 | RCA Records Label
Pop - Released January 1, 2008 | Universal Music Italia srL.
International Pop - Released January 1, 1979 | RCA Records Label
Pop - Released November 28, 2011 | Universal Music Italia srL.
As compilation packages go, this new release by the great Paolo Conte is rather hard to figure out. Allegedly, selections were handpicked by Conte, who thought nothing of choosing as many as five songs from his personal favorite, Una Faccia in Prestito (1995), a fine effort on its own right but nowhere near masterpieces such as the double album Aguaplano or his first two self-titled records, all conspicuously absent here. In fact, none of Conte's '70s albums made the cut, even if many of his career-defining songs are to be found there. Perhaps this was done in order to avoid overlapping Conte's previous compilation, the international big-seller The Best of Paolo Conte (1996). Even so, Gong-Oh repeats seven tracks from that compilation; tellingly, the only four tracks from his '80s albums included here were already present in The Best of Paolo Conte. In short, this compilation features next to nothing from Conte's classic '70s and '80s output, so there is no way it can be considered a comprehensive overview of his career. One suspects that the initial concept behind Gong-Oh was to offer a collection of Conte's best work in the '90s and 2000s -- which would have been a fine idea, indeed, and a perfect complement to the previous compilation -- but that fear of not including any of the big hits crept in, concessions were made, and in the end Gong-Oh included almost half of The Best of Paolo Conte, plus an unbalanced selection from Conte's most recent work. In order to sweeten the pot, the CD is bookended by two previously unreleased recordings: the new song "La Musica è Pagana," which recalls the electronic touches of 2008's Psiche, and a new arrangement of Conte's signature song, "Via con Me," made for a TV advert. There is of course nothing wrong with any of the dazzling 19 tracks on Gong-Oh, as Conte's consistency in terms of style and excellence has been awe-inspiring, titanium-solid through the years. Yet, as it lacks validity as a compilation, it cannot be recommended over any of his typically fine latter-day releases, such as the wonderfully minimalist Elegia (2004), not to mention his superb live albums. © Mariano Prunes /TiVo