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Paolo Conte: Tournée

Album Notes

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


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