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Thread: Pink Martini Profile

  1. #1
    Grumpy Old Man Music Head's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Lancaster, Kentucky, United States

    Default Pink Martini Profile

    Not a genre thread for this type on MD even though I think there should be, hint hint. Jazz is the closest I could come. Maybe an Easy Listening/Swing? for us old men that appreciate good music when it doesn't rock.

    new album released Oct 27th

    Splendor In The Grass

    from the album - Over The Valley
    YouTube - Pink Martini - Over The Valley

    from amg

    The eclectic, acoustic-oriented sounds of Pink Martini have never been easy to categorize, but that hasn't prevented the Portland, OR-based band from acquiring a loyal, enthusiastic cult following. Some reviewers have considered Pink Martini to be a product of the neo-swing trend of the 1990s and have compared them to bands like the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies; however, Pink Martini have a much broader range of influences. And while most of the neo-swing acts that emerged in the 1990s favored a combination of jump blues and early rock & roll — sort of Louis Jordan and Big Joe Turner by way of Little Richard, Buddy Holly, and Chuck Berry — the diverse Pink Martini have offered a risk-taking blend of jazz (mainly swing), world music, cabaret, lounge, and 1940s-1950s film music. Pink Martini's influences are far-reaching, ranging from Cole Porter and Duke Ellington to French icon Edith Piaf to Latin greats such as Xavier Cugat, Beny Moré, and Tito Puente — and a variety of world music has affected them, including French chanson, Afro-Cuban salsa, Argentinean tango, Brazilian samba and bossa nova, Italian folk, Greek rembetiko, Middle Eastern music, and Asian music. Impressively, Pink Martini's lead singer, China Forbes (b. April 29, 1970, Cambridge, MA), has performed in at least ten different languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Greek, Arabic, and Japanese. In 2004, Pink Martini founder/pianist Thomas M. Lauderdale (b. July 14, 1970, Oakland, CA) articulated the band's global outlook perfectly when he said: "I think it's important to be a citizen of the world as opposed to being a citizen of this particular country. Part of that means studying other people's languages."

    Lauderdale formed Pink Martini in 1994, hiring Forbes as the band's lead singer the following year. Neither Lauderdale nor Forbes is a native of Portland; Forbes, who grew up in Cambridge, met Lauderdale when both of them were attending Harvard University in the late '80s (she graduated in 1992). And Lauderdale lived in California and Indiana as a kid, although he spent his teens in Portland and moved back to Portland not long after graduating from Harvard. Forbes recorded a solo album, Love Handle, in 1995, but Pink Martini quickly became her main focus. Other members of Pink Martini have included Gavin Bondy on trumpet, Robert Taylor on trombone, Phil Baker on acoustic bass, Nicholas Crosa on violin, Brian Lavern Davis on drums and percussion, Timothy Nishimoto on percussion and vocals, and Derek Rieth and Martín Zarzar on percussion. Pink Martini's debut album, Sympathique, was released on their own independent label, Heinz Records, in 1997; they went on to release their second album, Hang on Little Tomato, on Heinz in 2004 and their third album, Hey Eugene!, on Heinz in 2007. The following year, Heinz released Forbes' second solo album, '78, which was a major departure from her work with Pink Martini and favored an introspective adult alternative approach along the lines of Natalie Merchant and Sarah McLachlan. 2009 was a busy year for the band, with the concert DVD Discover the World: Live in Concert, which showed how Pink Martini spent most of their 2008, arriving that summer; the album Splendor in the Grass, which featured collaborations with Chavela Vargas and the Dandy Warhols' Courtney Taylor-Taylor, appeared that fall.

    album review

    Pink Martini follow the around-the-world-in-a-dozen-songs thrills of Hey Eugene! with Splendor in the Grass, a mellower, simpler set of small pleasures. These are relative terms, however; the group's music is still well-traveled, with China Forbes singing in five languages (English, Spanish, Neapolitan, French, and Italian) instead of the six or so on Eugene!. However, Pink Martini opt for a more unified sound here, one that draws on the more straightforward lounge-pop of their debut, Sympathique, and the mellowness of '60s and '70s pop. Splendor in the Grass' first half is especially smooth, opening with the beautifully soft Neapolitan ballad "Ninna Nanna" and the title track, on which Forbes sings "I think we should take it slow" over swooping strings, brass, and piano that resurrect the glory days of AM pop; that feeling is echoed by the cover of Joe Raposo's "Sing," the Sesame Street song that gained popularity when the Carpenters performed it (Emilio Delgado, aka Sesame Street's Luis, duets with Forbes here in Spanish and English). The album's first few tracks are among its most playful, including the slinky yet winking "Ohayoo Ohio" and the French confection "Ou Est Ma Tete?" While Pink Martini gets almost too cute for their own good with "And Then You're Gone" and "But Now I'm Back," a pair of songs about a quarreling couple inspired by Franz Schubert's "Fantasy Piano for Four Hands" and featuring NPR justice correspondent Ari Shapiro on the latter's vocals, Splendor in the Grass' second half is among their finest work. "Over the Valley" is a standout, a ballad so timelessly sweet that it seems like it must be a long-lost standard the group just blew the dust off of, but it's an original; conversely, the covers of Moondog's haunting "New Amsterdam" and Agustín Lara's "Piensa en Mi," sung by Chavela Vargas, sound fresh and authentic, providing the drama Hang on Little Tomato and Hey Eugene! provided in spades. Though it's a lower-key set of songs than those two albums, Splendor in the Grass is charming in its own right.

    Track Listing
    1 Ninna Nanna Audiello, Clemente 04:42
    2 Ohayoo Ohio (Hello Ohio) Faehnle 04:47
    3 Splendor in the Grass Marashian ... 03:40
    4 Où Est Ma Tête? Forbes, Marashian ... 04:12
    5 And Then You're Gone Forbes, Marashian, Rieth ... 02:43
    6 But Now I'm Back Marashian ... 03:00
    7 Sunday Table Forbes ... 04:31
    8 Over the Valley Forbes ... 04:40
    9 Tuca Tuca Boncompagni, Pisano 02:50
    10 Bitty Boppy Betty Marashian 02:43
    11 Sing Raposo 04:10
    12 Piensa en Mi Lara, Lara 04:00
    13 New Amsterdam Louis Hardin AKA Moondog 04:51
    14 Ninna Nanna (Reprise) Audiello, Clemente 03:18
    “A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.”
    Will Rogers

  2. #2
    unreliable participant CMB1888's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    Remember finding Hey Eugene! quite listenable when it came out

    - always thought their name sort of categorised them, cocktail hour listening and quite frothy

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