Pink Martini come to Oxford
"I called China Forbes, who I’d gone to college with, and tricked her into coming out to Portland"
Pink Martini, the internationally celebrated “suave salon orchestra” (New York Times) will be returning to British shores this Autumn for a series of spectacular shows that fuse their unique blend of jazz, world music, cabaret, lounge and 1940-50s film music. The tour, which arrives in Oxford on October 23rd, takes in cities including London, Oxford, Liverpool, Gateshead, Glasgow, York and Manchester, and coincides with the release of their new album, Je Dis Oui.
The Portland- based band have been lauded by critics over the last two decades; “One of the world’s most elegant live bands. A repertoire embracing samba, chanson, Neopolitan ballads, Japanese Pop and much more besides.” said The Times. It doesn’t stop there, with The Guardian observing how they are “an international phenomenon mixing glamour and sophisticated easy listening with multilingual songs and the unexpected”.
The October dates will see Pink Martini wow crowds with their signature cocktail of crowd pleasing classical, pop and jazz arrangements by founder, bandleader and pianist Thomas Lauderdale, showcased by the lux vocals of long term collaborator China Forbes, alongside the eclectic instrumentals of their one of a kind, 11-piece ensemble.
Lauderdale founded Pink Martini in 1994 and draws musical inspiration for the group’s vocal and instrumental selections from around the world, crossing the genres of classical, jazz and old fashioned pop.
Now more than twenty years later Pink Martini and Lauderdale perform in 22 languages on concert stages from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl to Royal Albert Hall, and have appeared with more than 50 symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Americas.
Pink Martini played parties and fundraisers around Portland on a regular basis, mainly performing old popular standards from the 1950s and 1960s. Though it seemed to be going well, founder Thomas Lauderdale was not entirely happy: “About a year or two into it, I realised that I really liked the band, but I didn’t really like the singer. I called China Forbes, who I’d gone to college with, who was living in New York City, and I tricked her into coming out to Portland, Oregon.”
China turned out to be the missing piece of the Pink Martini jigsaw. To begin with, she travelled to Portland for the weekend gigs, then eventually she moved to Portland when Pink Martini began working on their first album Sympathetique. Released independently in 1997 on the band’s own label Heinz Records (named after Lauderdale’s dog), the album quickly became an underground international success.