Pink Martini - at the Town Hall, NYC

I was introduced to Pink Martini by a colleague of mine a few years ago via their brilliant initial albums Sympathique and Hang on Little Tomato. I was very impressed by the creativity, musical adventurousness and internationalism of this Oregon-based US band. Over the years I have grown only fonder. Their third album Hey Eugene was a pretty decent follow-up and I almost missed the last album Splendor in the Grass that just came out this October.

Pink Martini is the little orchestra from Oregon. I was really surprised to see how big the band really was. That's when it really struck me that they really were an Orchestra. They mostly play old style songs with hints of Jazz, Cabaret, Pop and Folk. The lead singer China Forbes very capably sings songs in French, Italian, Arabic, Spanish apart from English. She has a big voice that is matched well by the musical compositions of Thomas Lauderdale, the creative director of the band. They borrow freely and openly from various other bands from various previous eras and cultures. It truly is interesting if not overly brilliant music.

The concert at Town Hall was good but not great. There wasn't a hell of a lot of innovation or improvisation the band brought to the live concert. The band was clearly having a good time and that is always a good thing. They had assembled some random characters that were accompanying them on various performances. Not the least of them was Ari Shapiro, the NPR legal correspondent who did a pretty good job as the callous singer on But Now I'm Back, a rather amusing rebuttal to the And then You are Gone by Forbes.