Zucchero

Zucchero & Co.

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Italian star Zucchero has coaxed a wide variety of fellow artists into the studio over the years, and those vocal duets and other collaborations are gathered together on this collection, covering a period of over 15 years. This is one of those albums on which, intentionally, the selling point is the laundry list of co-stars, which is formidable: Jeff Beck, Andrea Bocelli, Bono (as a songwriter), Solomon Burke, Vanessa Carlton (on piano), Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Miles Davis, Haylie Ecker of Bond, Macy Gray, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Cheb Mami, Mexican group Maná, Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries, Luciano Pavarotti, Sting, and Paul Young. These luminaries join Zucchero to sing and play a batch of his songs (and sometimes co-write them), with many of the lyrics in English. Zucchero has one of those familiar gruff rock baritones, most reminiscent of Peter Gabriel, though it sounds at times like Joe Cocker and even ascends into a Sting-like tenor. The music is mostly also familiar, bearing the trappings of Euro-American classic rock balladeering in a manner that ruled adult contemporary radio for much of the 1980s and '90s. It's no wonder that the album is a co-production of the Concord label, known for its classy jazz catalog but lately branching out into pop, and Hear Music, the recording arm of the Starbucks Coffee company. It's easy to imagine this music playing at a low volume in the nearest Starbucks coffee shop and intriguing patrons who recognize the voice of Sheryl Crow or a guitar lick by Eric Clapton and wonder where it comes from. And that's appropriate, since this album is as much a marketing concept as it is a musical one.

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