Pink Martini's Thomas Lauderdale On 'Song Travels'

"I think that's maybe my best strength as a musician: the ability to accompany and to breathe with whoever's taking the lead," Thomas Lauderdale says. (Autumn de Wilde)

Pianist Thomas Lauderdale is the co-founder of the celebrated orchestral ensemble Pink Martini, which bridges classical, jazz, world music and old-fashioned pop.

"I'm inching my way towards Liberace land every day," Lauderdale says, laughing after opening with a rollicking take on "Malaguena," composed by Cuba's equivalent of George Gershwin, Ernesto Lecuona.

Hosted by Michael Feinstein, Song Travels is a new program which uncovers the intimate journey singers and songs take with one another. Lauderdale inaugurates the show with a few of his musical collaborators, including NPR's Ari Shapiro, of whom Lauderdale says, "He's so perfect, it's kind of nauseating."

"Malaguena" (E. Lecuona)

Michael Feinstein (piano), "Chopsticks" (E. Allen)

Feinstein (voice), "What'll I Do?" (I. Berlin)

Feinstein, China Forbes, Pink Martini, "How Long Will It Last?" (J. Meyer, M. Lief)

Feinstein (piano), "The Man I Love" (G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin)

Ari Shapiro (voice), "I Will Always Love You" (E. Lecuona)

Storm Large, Ida Rae Cahana, Ari Shapiro (voices), "Elo Hi" (D. Maseng)

Feinstein (voice), "Someone To Watch Over Me" (G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin)

Saori Yuki (voice), Feinstein (piano), "Puff, The Magic Dragon" (L. Lipton, P. Yarrow)

Feinstein (voice), "Beyond Compare" (D. Ross, M. Barer)

Ari Shapiro, Storm Large (voices), "Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again" (M. Torme, H. Arlen, T. Koehler, M. Ager, J. Yellen)

All songs feature Thomas Lauderdale on piano, except where noted.

Subscribe to the Song Travels Express podcast.

This program originally ran April 13, 2012.

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