You can keep Pete Doherty and the rest of them: the coolest musician on the planet is really the gravel-voiced lawyer-turned-singer from Asti. Paolo Conte is huge in France as well as Italy, and he also sells out when he ventures into London. I don't speak Italian, but that doesn't matter much, as even in translation his crpytic lyrics read like out-takes from Baudelaire mixed with a dash of Tom Waits. The music speaks in all languages, though; it's full of droll 20s-era jazz riffs and after-hours blues, performed by a wondrous mini-big band in which almost everyone doubles up on different instruments. One of the last times I saw him, he was playing a week of sell-out shows in one of the Milan's main theatres. The atmosphere was magical, like a family gathering.
I was hoping to find a clip of Via Con Me (Come Away With Me), which reached a big audience after being used on a car commercial. But as there's no sign of it, I'll settle for Sotto le stelle del Jazz (Under the Stars of Jazz)
Under the stars of jazz
An ape-man is walking
Or maybe dancing, who knows...