Give it a try if… You see music as the simplest, noblest means of transportation through time and space.
Steer clear if… Venturing beyond Los Cuarenta Principales makes you feel dizzy or uncomfortable.
I often wish people knew more about what my beloved, battered home country has to offer apart from “bunga bunga” and spaghetti bolognese. Luckily a few artists have been able to cross borders and redeem our reputation: that is how, this week, the public gathered at the sold-out Auditori could witness a magical concert by cult musician Paolo Conte.
The Wizard of Jazz
At 74 years of age, Conte (who penned his first tune in 1964) is an indisputable living legend. From hits like “Via con Me” and “Azzurro”, often borrowed by other interpreters, to less overexposed treats like “Hemingway” and “Max”, his songs display a dazzling fusion between the culture of la provincia italiana and the Jazz tradition. They taste like whisky and smell like pipe tobacco; they have the power to plunge you into a poetic world whose palette goes from poker table green to smeared lipstick red – and leave you there, enchanted and dumbfounded, hoping some pickpocket will steal your return ticket to the age of the euro collapse and David Guetta.
Sounds charming? Wait till you see him live. The other night, our hero – who looks like he’s sitting at the piano even while he stands in front of the microphone – captivated the audience by pouring out his stories with peerless flair, accompanied by a big band oozing talent, sensitivity and pure joy. Compared to when I saw him years ago, he has acquired a new sobriety (so to speak): not a single note was wasted while he made love with silence in “Alle prese con una verde milonga”, or tinkered with rhythm changes in the stunning reworking of “Bartali”. Play for us forever, Paolo.
UPS score (Utmost Perfection Scale): 10/10 + Standing Ovation