Post image for Los Angeles Music Preview: PINK MARTINI WITH CHINA FORBES & STORM LARGE, AND CHARO (Hollywood Bowl)

by Tony Frankel on August 10, 2017

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles


The last time I saw Pink Martini play the Hollywood Bowl, I was already wired after hearing them brilliantly execute an extended song list covering at least a dozen styles of music sung in eight different languages. But then this everlasting gobstopper of music turned the Hollywood Bowl into a festive party which involved the audience dancing in one giant conga line. Yet I was on my feet well before that: With a clever, daring, delightful, masterful, and sophisticated concoction of lounge, jazz, swing, samba, classical, and world music, this 12-piece “little orchestra” defied labels and winkingly dared us to stay seated.

Now they return to the Bowl on Sunday August 27, 2017 at 7; that’s 3 lucky “7”s, I guess, because not only are we getting BOTH lead singers China Forbes and Storm Large, but opening the fete is Charo, the indefatigable, gorgeous “cuchi, cuchi” herself; this international guitar-playing enchantress recently wowed us with her amazingly youthful work on Dancing with the Stars. And no promises, but I have yet to see one Pink Martini show where a special previously unannounced guest made an appearance.

This lively evening of song will include selections from their new album Je dis oui! as well as old favorites from past albums. As with previous collections and concerts,  Je dis oui! features a cavalcade of songs—many of them original—in French, Farsi, Armenian, Portuguese, Arabic, Turkish, Xhosa and English, affirming the band’s 22-year history of global inclusivity and collaborative spirit.

22 years and 11 discs ago, bandleader Timothy Lauderdale, whose ivory tickling is superb, founded Pink Martini in Portland, Oregon, to provide more beautiful and inclusive musical soundtracks for political fundraisers. A year later, he called China Forbes, a Harvard classmate who was living in New York City, and asked her to join. They began to write songs together. Since then, Pink Martini’s music has crossed the genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop, drawing inspiration from the romantic Hollywood musicals of the 1940s and ’50s while injecting a more global perspective. The band’s musicians have studied different languages and styles of music from all over the world in developing their wildly diverse repertoire. “Pink Martini is a rollicking around-the-world musical adventure,” said Lauderdale. “If the United Nations had a house band in 1962, hopefully we’d be that band.”

Singer, songwriter, raconteur, author, actor, playwright, and powerhouse performer Storm Large began performing with Pink Martini in March 2011, when China Forbes took a leave of absence to undergo surgery on her vocal chords. Forbes—equal parts spunk, class, and sass—clearly made a full recovery, commanding the stage at the Bowl with her suave presence and soaring voice. But La Large is an uniquely original chanteuse: It’s as if there was some huge female orgy with the likes of Frances Faye, Rusty Warren, Peggy Lee, Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, Joan Jett, Amy Winehouse, Bette Midler, a wisecracking film noir gun moll, and a Madam of the friendliest Chicken Ranch on the planet—and they had this love child. She’ll knock you out!

Both Forbes and Large are on the new album. Je dis oui!—which means “I say yes” in French—is the optimistic mantra of the chorus of “Joli garçon” (“Pretty boy”), one of three songs co-written by the band for the upcoming film Souvenir.

So, arrive early to the Bowl and get to know your neighbors, because you’ll be celebrating together as you jump, jive, and boogie to a wonderland of Lauderdale’s brilliant arrangements—don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes!

Storm Large photo by Laura Domela

Pink Martini
with lead singers China Forbes and Storm Large
special guest Charo
The Hollywood Bowl
Sunday August 27, 2017 at 7pm
for tickets, call 323.850.2000
or visit The Hollywood Bowl

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