December 3, 2102 – Last summer, I tasted my first Pink Martini, the luscious cocktail party band/orchestra influenced by Latin rhythms, jazz, cabaret, and film scores of the 1940s and 50s. They lived up to the hype I’d heard about when experiencing a live show, but they were missing a crucial piece of the puzzle. Lead singer China Forbes had just undergone throat surgery, missed that performance, and the rest of their summer tour.
Storm Large, a singer from Portland, Oregon, who gained national attention with her beautifully strong pipes as a contestant on the CBS talent show, “Rock Star: Supernova”, filled in for Forbes nicely for most of their summer tour, but I never had the opportunity to wallow in the full Pink Martini experience … until last night.
All I can say is wow! Fully assembled, Pink Martini took to the stage at the Keswick Theater, in Glenside, Pa., and put on a fabulous holiday show extravaganza for the filled auditorium. They performed several holiday classics such as “Little Drummer Boy”, “We Three Kings” and “Auld Lang Syne”, several classics of their own like “Hey Eugene” and “Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love”, and also laid down a few other marvelous surprises, such as a beautiful version of the Irving Berlin ballad, “What’ll I do”.
Thankfully, the surgery didn’t harm Forbes’ vocal chords in any way; she filled the room with the delightful sound of her big, beautiful voice. Aside from Latin and jazz infused music, Pink Martini blends melodies from around the world to create a multi-cultural and multi-lingual sound. Last night they also performed in several languages, including French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Hindi.
The band formed in Portland, Oregon in 1995, when founder and pianist extraordinaire Thomas Lauderdale called a former classmate from Harvard (Forbes) and asked her to join his “little orchestra”, Pink Martini.
Lauderdale says, “Pink Martini is a rollicking around-the-world musical adventure.”
And he would be right.
If you ever have an opportunity to see this “little orchestra”, grab it and go. It’s also great listening to their music on your iPod, but live, on stage is where they put on their best … and that’s when you get to feel the goosebumps.