26 September 2011
| September 26, 2011 (UK)|
Jazz, Lounge music, Easy listening, Pop rock
Hey Eugene!, Hang On Little Tomato, Splendor in the Grass, Joy to the World, Sympathique
A Retrospective is the first compilation album by the American group Pink Martini, released in September 2011 in the United Kingdom and the following month in the United States, Australia and Canada. The album contains twenty-one tracks from six studio albums. Guest artists include Michael Feinstein ("How Long Will It Last?"), French singer and songwriter Georges Moustaki ("Ma Solitude") and director Gus Van Sant ("Moon River"); the compilation also features remixes by New York City disc jockey Johnny Dynell ("Una Notte a Napoli") and Hiroshi Wada ("Kikuchiyo to Mohshimasu").
Critical reception of the compilation album was positive overall; many reviewers appreciated the album in its entirety but criticized select tracks. A Retrospective reached a peak position of number seven on Billboard's Top Jazz Albums chart.
A Retrospective contains twenty-one tracks totaling more than seventy minutes in length, some of which were previously unreleased. Tracks originally appearing on the group's 1997 debut album Sympathique include Manuel Jiménez's "¿Donde Estas Yolanda?", "La Soledad", "Sympathique", "Que Sera Sera" by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, and "Amado Mio". "Hang On Little Tomato", "Una Notte a Napoli", "Anna (El Negro Zumbón)", "Lilly" and "Aspettami" first appeared on Hang On Little Tomato (2004). The group's 2007 album Hey Eugene! included the song of the same name; similarly, "Splendor in the Grass" was the title track of the 2009 album of the same name. The samba-influenced version of "Auld Lang Syne" was the final track on Pink Martini's 2010 holiday album Joy to the World. 1969, the collaborative album with Saori Yuki first released in October 2011, included Jorge Ben Jor's "Mas que Nada".
"Moon River", originally by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, and "The Man with the Big Sombrero" were previously unreleased. "Moon River" featured guest vocals by director Gus Van Sant, marking his singing debut. French singer-songwriter Georges Moustaki provided vocals on "Ma Solitude", and pianist and singer Michael Feinstein contributed to Max Lief and Joseph Meyer's "How Long Will It Last?" The compilation also features two remixed recordings: "Una Notte a Napoli" by New York City disc jockey Johnny Dynell, and an instrumental version of "Kikuchiyo to Mohshimasu" by Hiroshi Wada. "Kikuchiyo to Mohshimasu" originally appeared on Hang On Little Tomato.
Included with the album is a 48-page booklet of previously unseen Polaroid pictures taken by Thomas Lauderdale, along with postcards and posters from Pink Martini's history. A deluxe hardbound CD book version was also available for purchase. The group promoted the release of A Retrospective and 1969 by touring throughout the United States, including a holiday special in Portland, Oregon featuring Saori Yuki as part of their Holiday Tour.
Overall, critical reception of the album was positive, though some reviewers criticized select tracks. Michael Upchurch of The Seattle Times wrote that the "A" before "Retrospective" in the album's title was appropriate and that the compilation included highlights of the group's career. The New Zealand Herald's Lydia Jenkin thought the collection represented a standard Pink Martini concert set list by including a variety of sounds, languages and vocalists, each delivered with "class, passion and subtlety". Jenkin awarded the album 3.5 of 5 stars, complimenting the album overall but noting that some tracks featured less "elegant sophistication" or "imaginative" arrangements. Marion Pragt wrote a positive review for The Cambridge Student, believing the compilation incorporated various styles of music and reflected the group's "cosmopolitan nature". Pragt concluded by asserting that the album was "perfect for avid admirers and newcomers alike".
Rave magazine's Chad Parkhill rated the album three of four stars. Parkhill described "Auld Lang Syne" as "weirdly off-kilter" and found Dynell's remix to be "profoundly derivative", but also called some of the previously unreleased material "wonderful". Tom D'Antoni of Oregon Music News called Van Sant's performance "truly awful in execution", but considered the album to be "simply sensational" overall. The Sydney Star Observer's Nick Bond complimented the album's artwork and packaging.
Track listing adapted from Allmusic.
Credits adapted from Allmusic.
A Retrospective reached a peak positive of number seven on Billboard's Top Jazz Albums chart.
Release history adapted from Pink Martini's official website.
1Una Notte a Napoli (First Recording)2:26A Retrospective (Pink Martini album) Wikipedia
2Hang On Little Tomato3:17
3¿Donde Estas Yolanda? (China Forbes Vocals version)3:26