Hang on Little Tomato, Pink Martini's long-awaited second album, features mostly original songs written by the band and its extended family. Drawing on themes articulated in its first album, Hang on Little Tomato is the result of the group's diverse collaborations and inspirations. From an advertisement for Hunt's Ketchup from a 1964 issue of LIFE magazine to a dance sequence in the 1950 Italian film Anna, Hang on Little Tomato includes songs in French, Italian, Japanese, Croatian, Spanish and English.
Pink Martini should be known as the little orchestra that walks a fine line in its music. The Portland, Oregon, outfit is deeply influenced by Latin music, jazz, cabaret, cinema scores, and a smattering of other styles. But rather than simply aping legendary artists in their prime--and fooling only a few dim bulbs in the process--band shakes things up by writing its own material, or at least creating tasteful new arrangements that fit within the bands unique post-lounge framework. The band keeps the playful musical vibe on Hang On Little Tomato
, but jettisons what kitsch factor it had, choosing to focus wholly on original material or stuff that isnt recognizable to the average music fan. Its been a seven-year wait for fans since the bands fun debut, Sympathique
, and while the blush is now off the rose, the bands creative ambitions and talent are never better displayed than here on their second effort. Tad Hendrickson