Pink Martini bandleader Thomas Lauderdale originally thought he’d enter politics and run for mayor of his hometown, Portland, Oregon. But as he started going to fundraisers, he realized that the music most politicians played at their events was crap. He figured he could come up with something better, and he put together a self-described “little orchestra” he dubbed Pink Martini.
Twenty years on, the group is an international sensation that plays a unique mix of lounge music, jazz and classical. Because Lauderdale's parents were from what he describes as “the earnest side of the ’60s,” the band's influences are quite varied. The group is set to play the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 16. Tickets go on sale at noon on Friday.