Pink Martini - In 1994 in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, Thomas Lauderdale was working in politics, thinking that one day he would run for mayor. Like other eager politicians-in-training, he went to every political fundraiser under the sun… but was dismayed to find the music at these events underwhelming, lackluster, loud and un-neighborly. Drawing inspiration from music from all over the world – crossing genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop – and hoping to appeal to conservatives and liberals alike, he founded the “little orchestra” Pink Martini in 1994 to provide more beautiful and inclusive musical soundtracks for political fundraisers for causes such as civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, libraries, public broadcasting, education and parks. Over the years, the band has collaborated and performed with numerous artists, including Jimmy Scott, Carol Channing, Jane Powell, Rufus Wainwright, Henri Salvador, and more, and has had an illustrious roster of regular guest artists including NPR’s Ari Shapiro, host of All Things Considered; Cantor Ida Rae Cahana (who was cantor at the Central Synagogue in NYC for five years); koto player Masumi Timson; harpist Maureen Love; and Kim Hastreiter (the publisher/editor-in-chief of Paper magazine). Pink Martini has just finished recording its ninth studio album, Je dis oui!, which features vocals from China Forbes, Storm Large, Ari Shapiro, fashion guru Ikram Goldman, Kathleen Saadat, and Rufus Wainwright, and will be released worldwide in November 2016.
Beth Hart - Los Angeles-based blues-rocker Beth Hart began playing piano at age four, later attending L.A.'s High School for the Performing Arts as a vocal and cello major. By 1993, she was a regular fixture on the local club circuit, by 1993 she was collaborating with bassist Tal Herzberg and guitarist Jimmy Khoury; with the addition of drummer Sergio Gonzalez early the following year, the Beth Hart Band was complete, and after signing to Atlantic's Lava imprint, the group issued its debut album, Immortal, in 1996. Screamin' for My Supper followed three years later. In 2003, Hart released Leave the Light On, followed by both audio and DVD versions of Live at Paradiso in 2005. In 2007, she released 37 Days, which was only released in Europe and Japan. It was followed by Beth Hart & the Ocean of Souls in 2009 on Razz Records. In 2010, Hart released My California in Europe, followed by its release in the United States in early 2011. Hart emerged later in the year in collaboration with blues guitar superstar Joe Bonamassa on a searing collection of soul covers titled Don't Explain. The year 2012 saw the release of Hart's eighth studio album, Bang Bang Boom Boom. In 2013, Hart paired up once again with Bonamassa for another set of cover versions on Seesaw, and the pair followed it up with Live in Amsterdam, issued in March of 2014. Hart once again went solo in 2015 with Better Than Home. The following year, she delivered the more upbeat and direct album Fire on the Floor.