Paolo Conte


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It was probably too much to hope for, but in 900 Paolo Conte could not keep up the high standards set by his two previous outings, the masterpieces Aguaplano and Parole d'Amore Scritte a Macchina. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with 900. All the elements of Conte's trademark style are firmly in place: the jazz and music hall influences, the sardonic spoken voice, the swinging piano, the gallery of nightclub musicians and regulars of "Per Quel Che Vale" or "Schiava del Politeama," yet, with a few exceptions (the jaunty "Gong-Oh"), the piano solo of "Brillantina Bengalese"), this set of quintessentially correct Conte songs somehow fails to catch fire. The background vocals and sequencer effects that sparkled much of Parole d'Amore Scritte a Macchina are abandoned for a return to a more traditional lounge jazz sound. The results are as immaculately tasteful as usual for Conte, especially the wind instruments sections -- for instance on "La Donna Della Tua Vita" -- but songs tend to blend into one another rather than become individually distinct. 900 is a pleasant, faultlessly arranged and executed, Paolo Conte album, but not particularly memorable in the context of his distinguished career.

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