The eclectic, Portland-based musical group, Pink Martini is the furthest you can get from the homogeneous mediocrity of slickly marketed corporate pop music. Founded in 1994, and dubbed the “little orchestra”, it’s a group where music takes precedence over category. According to their website, Pink Martini blends “genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop.” I remember performing with them when they appeared with the Richmond Symphony about seven years ago.
The song Clementine comes from their 2004 album, Hang On Little Tomato, a title inspired by a 1964 Hunt’s Ketchup ad. It seems like appropriate end-of-summer listening, especially with a reference in the lyrics to “a packing up of summer clothes.”
There’s something atmospheric and slightly surreal about this song. It falls into an undefinable space between upbeat and melancholy. Pay attention to the great drum set groove and the simple expressiveness of the harmony in the piano: