Pianist Thomas Lauderdale, who founded the ensemble Pink Martini in 1994 in Portland, Ore., says his deceased dog, Heintz, was a great judge of music.
“Whenever he liked the music that was going on, he would go to the center of the room and get on his back with his paws toward heaven,” Lauderdale says. “If he didn’t like the music, he would become very agitated, pace the corners and periphery of the room, and bark.”
Pink Martini performs Saturday, Jan. 16, at Mount Baker Theatre.
Here is Lauderdale’s description of their music: “It’s old-fashioned-symphonic-global-pop, with songs in 25 languages, a mashup of Japanese film noir to French chanson, to Brazilian street samba; largely inspired by films like ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘La Dolce Vita.’”
He says the band exists because of the 1998 TV movie “Christmas at Pee Wee’s Playhouse.” Guests on the were the Del Rubio Triplets who, Lauderdale says, “warbled covers like ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ and ‘Whip It.’”
Lauderdale brought the triplets to Portland for a series of concerts in nursing homes, hospitals, retirement homes and Rotary meetings. At the end of their visit, they had a public concert. Lauderdale needed an opening band, but couldn’t get hold of the surf band he wanted. So he “threw on a cocktail dress” and started Pink Martini as a small orchestra.
Growing up, Lauderdale listened to his parents’ music — Roger Miller, Ray Charles, the Ray Coniff Singers, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the New Christy Minstrels, the soundtrack to “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Pink Martini’s wide-ranging songs vary from “Moon River” to “Qué Será Será” and “Never on Sunday,” as well as songs reflecting their tours in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16
Where: Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St.
Cost: $32 to $69
Details: 360-734-6080, mountbakertheatre.com