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I have been blessed and fortunate to have seen the legendary Dionne Warwick in any manner of different settings over the many years I’ve been seeing her perform, going way back to my formative years in London in the ‘60s. I’ve seen her in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Bangkok, again in London - and now in the lovely city of Turin. The occasion was particularly special: in 1990, working with the late Arif Mardin, Dionne recorded a whole album of songs written by the renowned Cole Porter. SoulMusic Records had the pleasure of reissuing it in 2011 (alongside Dionne’s “Aquarela Do Brasil” album) so it seemed fitting that I should make the trip to see her perform the classic tunes from the Cole Porter LP for the first time since she did them in concert in the UK when the album was originally released.

There can be nothing more wonderful than a warm, balmy Italian night in a beautiful city square watching and listening to a musical icon give an amazing performance but that’s exactly what happened on April 29 as part of the first-ever Turin (Torino) Jazz Festival. Accompanied by a special orchestra created for the occasion and two of her own musicians, Dionne gave the audience of several thousand a night to remember. Kicking off the proceedings with something familiar - her massive international ‘80s hit “Heartbreaker” - she settled into a programme of Cole Porter, delivered effortlessly and with obvious enjoyment on her part.

No doubt it was refreshing for Dionne, celebrating her 50th anniversary as a chartmaker this year, to explore music that is distinctly different from the set she usually delivers. We heard truly sublime renditions of many of the highlights from the Cole Porter songbook including “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” a beautiful “I Concentrate On You,” a sassy “It’s All Right With Me” (one of my own personal favourite Porter songs, with its decidedly cheeky lyrics!), a charming “Begin The Beguine” and a jazzy “Night And Day,” an obvious crowd-pleaser. It was a marvellous evening in song and kudos to the Italian orchestra who faithfully recreated the original recordings!

Cognizant that the audience would want to hear some Warwick classics, Dionne gave outstanding renditions of “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” (with the Italian audience singing along!), “What The Worlds Needs Now Is Love” and, of course, “That’s What Friends Are For.” It was a fitting ending to a rare treat and hopefully, Dionne herself was encouraged by the crowd’s response to consider doing the Cole Porter show in other cities around the world!

About the Writer
David Nathan is the founder and CEO of and began his writing career in 1965; beginning in 1967, he was a regular contributor to Blues & Soul magazine in London before relocating to the U.S. in 1975 where he served as U.S. editor for the publication for several decades and began being known as 'The British Ambassador Of Soul.' From 1988 to 2004, he wrote prolifically for Billboard, has penned bios, produced and written liner notes for box sets and reissue CDs for over a thousand projects. He returned to London in 2009 where he has helped create Records as a leading reissue label.

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