Pink Martini / Saori Yuki

1969

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This collaboration between retro pastiche-masters Pink Martini and Saori Yuki -- sometimes described as "the Barbra Streisand of Japan" -- came about after Yuki heard the group's rendition of her song "Taya Tan" on Hey Eugene! (she also contributed to the band's holiday album Joy to the World). It's fitting, then, that 1969's highlights often recall the brooding beauty of the song that sparked this pairing. "Yuuzuki (Evening Moon)"'s sweeping drama and the torchy intimacy of "Ii Janaino Shiawase Naraba (It's Okay If I'm Happy)" are among the moments that do the most justice to Yuki's still-soaring voice. Like Streisand, she sounds wonderful singing just about anything, although some of these songs from 1969 ("Mas Que Nada," "Yoake No Scat [Melody for a New Dawn]") harness her vocal power more fully than others ("Puff, the Magic Dragon"). Still, Pink Martini fans and Yuki fans will find a lot to enjoy here.

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