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World Music CD Reviews Europe

PAULO CONTE

By DEREK BERES
Published April 19, 2006

Reveries
Nonesuch

Leonard Cohen epitomized ’60s metaphysical literature with his cultish Beautiful Losers; to coincide with psychedelic penmanship, his albums were equally quizzical. After one listen to Reveries, one cannot help but think Cohen may, in some Douglas Adams twist of fate, have a certified Italian twin. Paulo Conte, who at the age of 37 released back-to-back albums both titled Paulo Conte (and another by the same name a decade later), is Asti’s answer to beatnik bards with lounge-smoked voices. His second U.S. release (following ’98s Best Of—you guessed it—Paulo Conte), Reveries continues his quest of Sinatra-esque lyrics with gorgeous jazz undertones. Like lifted pages from Vonnegut manuscripts, the pianist/crooner covers romance and psychic wanderlust with grace, a suave showman not afraid to display kazoo skills on the melancholic “Hanging Gardens Are Now Passé.”  Almost exclusively Italian—save his quirkily bouncing chorus of “Dancing” on the track of the same name and a female choir on the dainty “Come Mi Vuoi?”—language is no barrier on Reveries. Speakers of every dialect will be seduced.