Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fumo e odore di caffè

Among the more obscure Piazzolla recordings is a promotional album, Café Chantant, issued by the Lavazza Coffee company in 1994, which contains a recording of Milva singing Fumo e odore di caffè accompanied by Piazzolla on the bandoneón. It is so obscure that it is not listed in the incredibly thorough Saito discography of Piazzolla recordings. I knew about the recording only because of an audio/video posted on YouTube in March, 2011. A comment on the video noted the presence of Astor Piazzolla and that the song had come from a 1980 broadcast of the television program, Palcoscenico. Until today's featured video appeared this week, I had no idea that a video of the performance existed. It is now, in fact, quite apparent that the Café Chantant recording is taken directly from the soundtrack of today's video.

Milva was more than just a vocalist for Piazzolla - she was a fan and a promoter. Milva had been famous in Italy since the 1960's when Piazzolla first met her in 1979. Five years later, at Milva's invitation, he toured with her and that tour, according to the Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango, "gave a definite and perhaps the decisive boost to Piazzolla's European fortunes." One of his most popular recordings, Live at the Bouffes du Nord, captured the results of that 1984 tour. It is remarkable that today's video captures the two nearly five years before that tour.

The song is not a Piazzolla composition. I believe it was composed by conductor and composer, Gianni Ferrio, with lyrics by Michele Guardi. Guardi along with Antonello Falqui produced the television show from which today's video was captured. The performance was the last of the show and the credits for the show are running through the entire song. Piazzolla is probably improvising over the accompaniment that Milva normally used for the song and his work is confident and flawless.

Milva's management is fairly aggressive about removing unauthorized video from YouTube. I suggest you watch this video as soon as you can just in case it is removed.

The Milva/Piazzolla performance begins at 1'54" into the video. You may wish to advance the video to that point.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

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