Hey Eugene!

Hey Eugene!

With a name like Pink Martini, you might expect this Portland, Oregon-based outfit to play the sort of lounge popularized in the 1990s by Combustible Edison and various compilation releases. But while Hey Eugene! may occasionally nod to the genre, the large band, led by Thomas Lauderdale from behind the piano, essentially plays internationalist orchestral pop that is a model of taste and restraint. Featuring a mix of originals and covers, the album tours the world: vocalist China Forbes sings in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Arabic. Hey Eugene! travels from the Old Hollywood of “Everywhere” through various Latin rhythms, stops over in Asia and the Middle East, and then visits Manhattan’s Lower Eastside, where the scenario of the catchy title track unfolds. And the group cleverly brings together far-flung locales on “Dosvedanya Mio Bambino,” which incorporates Italian and Russian elements. The closer, a cover of the1920s Yeomans and Caesar classic, “Tea for Two,” features a duet between Forbes and the amazing Jimmy Scott that will bring a tear to your eye. What lounge act does that?

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