Hang On Little Tomato

Studio Album by released in 2004
Hang On Little Tomato's tracklist:
Let's Never Stop Falling In Love
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Anna (El Negro Zumbon)
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Hang On Little Tomato
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The Gardens Of Sampson & Beasley
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Veronique
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Dansez-Vous
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Lilly
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Autrefois
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U Plavu Zoru
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Clementine
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Una Notte A Napoli
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Kikuchiyo To Mohshimasu
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Aspetta Mi
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Song Of The Black Swan
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Bonus Track
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Hang On Little Tomato review

The Portland, Oregon, little orchestra Pink Martini 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 band’s 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 isn’t recognizable to the average music fan. It’s been a seven-year wait for fans since the band’s fun debut, Sympathique, but the band’s creative ambitions and talent are never better displayed than here on their second effort.

Drawing on themes articulated on Sympathique, Hang On Little Tomato is the result of the group’s diverse collaborations and inspirations. From an advertisement for Hunt’s Ketchup in 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. Una Notte A Napoli, for example, was written with Alba Clemente – an Italian stage and television star in the 1970s – and DJ Johnny Dynell of the legendary New York-based nightclub Jackie 60. In a reworking of the Japanese song Kikuchiyo To Mohshimasu, Pink Martini collaborated with Hiroshi Wada, the slide guitarist whose group originally recorded and released the song in 40 years ago. Even on the most theatrical moments of their second album, such as the Yma Sumac-meets-chamber jazz of U Plavu Zoru or the smoky Italian ambience of Una Notte A Napoli, a lot of genuine sentiment shines through. The album's moods are almost as wide-ranging as its sounds, spanning the innocence of the title track's '30s pop and the Bacharach-esque sweetness of Clementine to the world-weary Veronique to the smoky romance of Aspetta Mi The orchestra continues with its tradition of elegant music executed masterfully. Hang On Little Tomato proves that a second album can be as strong as the first, even if the wait takes seven years. Lush string arrangements, soaring vocals and cosmopolitan rhythms unfurl from the brilliant international hemisphere that is Pink Martini.

Part language lesson, part Hollywood musical, this little orchestra was originally created in 1994 by Harvard-graduate Thomas M. Lauderdale to play at political fundraisers for progressive causes such as public broadcasting, clean water, libraries, civil rights and affordable housing. In the years following, Pink Martini has gone on to perform its multilingual repertoire on concert stages, in smoky clubs and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Greece, Turkey, Taiwan, Lebanon and the U.S.