Dream a Little Dream
A marvel of pop-jazz ingenuity, Pink Martini leader Thomas Lauderdale is at it again. Marking his group’s 20th anniversary, Lauderdale serves up another marvelous, multilingual olio that is equal parts musical adventure and pop-culture kitsch.
For the first time in Pink Martini’s colorful history, Lauderdale is flying without his copilot, lead vocalist China Forbes. In her stead, true to his jocund ways, he’s added four great-grandchildren—Sofia, Melanie, Amanda and August—of Georg and Maria von Trapp (of The Sound of Music fame).
Only Lauderdale would take a massive (and somewhat cheesy) hit like ABBA’s “Fernando” and serve it up in the original Swedish with the von Trapps’ tight harmonies augmented by the marching samba band the Lions of Batucada. His latest world tour also includes stops in Japan (“Kuroneko no tango,” popularized by 6-year-old Osamu Minagawa in the late ’60s), France (a dreamy treatment of the 1963 Francoise Hardy anthem “Le premier bonheur du jour”), Germany, China, Israel and Rwanda.
As always, guest stars are plentiful, including Ireland’s the Chieftains on the climactic “Thunder” (one of three originals contributed by August von Trapp). Further indulging his quirkiness, Lauderdale also includes a double-nod to The Sound of Music, with a fragile “Edelweiss” tremulously performed by 71-year-old Charmian Carr (16-going-on-17 Liesl in the film version of The Sound of Music) and a joyous restaging of “The Lonely Goatherd” led by fellow septuagenarian Wayne Newton, whose once-angelic soprano has been reduced to Tom Waits rubble.