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CD Review: Zucchero Zucchero & Co.

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Artist: Zucchero
Title: Zucchero & Co.
Genre: Blues-Pop-Rock
Label: Concord Records
Zucchero Website

Adelmo Fornicari, known to the world by his nickname, Zucchero, which means “Sugar” in his homeland of Italy, has struck gold with his new release Zucchero & Co. Ok, I will admit it, I had never heard of this artist until now. For me this man is a revelation! It is rather apparent he has the respect of his peers worldwide as luminaries such as B.B. King, Eric Clapton, John Lee Hooker and Jeff Beck, to name a few, collaborate with Zucchero on this release. Zucchero’s vocal style has a resemblance to Gary Brooker of Procol Harum, so if you are looking for some familiarity, there is one example.

The results of all the partnerships on each track are magnificent!-Making every track a true work of art. The recordings collectively date back to 2001. The CD starts with blues legend John Lee Hooker singing “I Lay Down.” It is a memorable performance and one only John Lee could pull off. His voice was indeed unique and universal in the world of blues. My two favorites are back to back, “Wonderful World,” with Clapton and “Hey Man (Sing a Song)” with King. Even when Zucchero sings in Italian, like with opera star Andrea Bocelli on “Miserere,” which is quite beautiful, even though I did not understand a word, I enjoyed it immensely.

The consistency and quality is remarkable on this album. It does not matter what waters Zucchero dips his toes in, he comes out sounding like a real star on every track. Having a lineup like this does not hurt either. Besides the obvious talents of the man, he attracted some of the finest talent in the music biz to the sessions, which says a mouthful about his taste in music. His talents as lyricist are strong and he is equally adept at many positions instrumentally, playing guitars, mellotron, electric piano, organ, fuzz synth and the Wurlitzer.

This artist has it all going in the right direction. The best part about it is he put it all together on one album. I can see this recording winning a Grammy of some sort for 2005; it is unequivocally a five star album in a world of sub par over inflated pop stars. I promise you that you will love everything about this album, the emotion, the diversity, the sounds, and above all, the tremendous international crossover appeal that you find yourself joyously immersed in. This is a real winner; a sure bet for many spins, get it.

© Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

Raitng-9/10

July 26, 2005

01. I Lay Down – John Lee Hooker (4:56)

02. Blue – Sheryl Crow (4:49)
03. Pure Love – Dolores O’Riordan (3:28)
04. Baila Morena – Zucchero (4:05)
05. Dune Mosse – Miles Davis (5:42)
06. Muoio Per Te – Zucchero (3:22)
07. Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime – Vanessa Carlton (4:03)
08. Like the Sun {From Out of Nowhere} – Jeff Beck (3:56)
09. Wonderful World – Eric Clapton (4:35)
10. Hey Man (Sing a Song) – B.B. King (4:36)
11. Cosí Celeste – Cheb Mami (4:43)
12. Senza Una Donna (Without a Woman) – Zucchero (4:29)
13. Diavolo in Me (A Devil in Me) – Solomon Burke (4:00)
14. Miserere – Andrea Bocelli (4:11)

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  • steiner

    I met Zuch in LA in 96 when he came through to play House of Blues. I’ve always loved Italo-rock. man, this Libran dude rocked the house apart. Think Italian Joe Cocker…when Joe was good in the early 70s. Check him out.

  • Gloria Shiraef

    Fine and accurate review, MusikMan, except his last name is Fornaciari. *smile*

    Zucchero was/is my greatest musical discovery of the millenium. Zu & Co is a wonderful compilation CD, but he has a rich body of work, and most, if not all, deserves serious attention. The USA is far behind in their appreciation for this artist, whom I would agree brings to mind Cocker and Brooker, but also Clapton and Ray Charles. The rest of the world knows Zucchero well, and has for a couple of decades.

    Zu & Co ‘the CD’ is only surpassed by the DVD of the same name; this is by far THE most perfect live video I have ever had the pleasure to view, in terms of performance, musicianship, and production. I sincerely hope that Zu’z growing popularity in this country finally takes away purchasing his work as ‘imports only’. To this day, even taking into account my large collection of live music videos, the DVD of Zu & Co remains the solitary item that I have watched repeatedly, hungrily, each time as if it was the first. Very few DVD’s in my collection ever enjoy more than a 2nd viewing, but this one is highly addictive, highly recommended.

    Explore Zucchero, let him take you down the myriad musical paths he travels, it is an exquisite journey and one you will always wonder why it didn’t happen sooner.

  • http://artbychristine.homestead.com Christine Farnell

    Always figured I was familiar with just about any kind of music, but the sweetness of this gentleman’s voice, the intensity of his music and the song that fills my heart when I listen to him, and his SOUND, brings me to my knees EVERY time. Thank you Luciano C. for giving me this gift of music – and thank you to Zucchero…CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU LIVE!!!!!!

  • Dee

    I am a self-admitted Zucchero addict. Discovered him in a round about manner through “Miserere” on Bocelli’s Romanza album. Fell in love with the song done with John Miles, did some research, and never looked back. I now have a collection of Zucchero CDs in several editions. I have found you can get the Spanish, International, English, Italian, even Dutch and each one will be special in its own way. Nothing boring about him. As much as it sort of embarrasses me to admit it, I am 63 years old and have joined my first fan club. All the lyrics are listed, and there is a great “fanzine”. Even the free parts of the site are great. And the fanzines are in English and Italian. I wish the OP had been right and he had won a grammy, then maybe America would wake up and enjoy this incredible artist.