After the chaos and destruction of World War II and the conservative musical environment Italian leaders promoted, the Italian public was ready for a more relaxed sound. Jazz, swing and boogie-woogie were achieving worldwide popularity and merged with the Italian crooner tradition. The musical rebirth of the 1950s and ’60s was like a second liberation. Putumayo’s Italian Café captures the music and attitude from that era and from current singers whose musical DNA follows that lineage. While most foreign music was banned under the Italian fascist regime, Fred Buscaglione wound up in a U.S. internment camp, where he was able to get a jumpstart in trying out the styles emerging from America. Quartetto Cetra emerged in the late ’40s, when they provided the overdubs for the Italian versions of the movies Dumbo and Wizard of Oz. The following decade found Renato Carosone blending Neapolitan folk music with American jazz and boogie-woogie to create a signature style that made him a household name in Italy and a chart-topping crooner in the U.S.
Nicola Arigliano is the only 1950s-era artist on Italian Café performing to this day. Born in 1923 in a small village in southern Italy, Arigliano ran away from home when he was just 11 years old to play music in the nightclubs of Milan. Arigliano disappeared from the concert stage for 30 years. In the past decade he re-emerged with four new albums.
Gianmaria Testa is more famous abroad than he is at home in Italy, where he works as a train station manager. You can hear his trademark gruff, whispering voice on two songs on Italian Café. Daniele Silvestri’s "Le Cose in Comune" won Italy’s equivalent of the Grammy, as best song of the year.
The collection features extensive liner notes in English, Italian, Spanish and French.
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