By Josh Markle
Pink Martini’s Harvard trained founder and pianist, Thomas M. Lauderdale, says the group’s long anticipated sophomore release is “like an urban musical travelogue.” However, he is not talking about travelogues in the Bill Bryson sense, but rather in the Quantum Leap sense.
Hang on Little Tomato is a musical odyssey through time, surveying pop culture as it has been expressed through music all over the world for the last century. Lead vocalist China Forbes sounds like a cross between Astrud Gilberto, Etta James and whoever Kate Capshaw is lip syncing to in Temple of Doom. In fact, the entire opening sequence from Temple of Doom, set in an American bar in China during the 1930s, is a perfect representation of Pink Martini’s music. They draw heavily on the ’30s, not only from American influences, but also from popular trends in Afro-Cuban and Asian music of the time.
Hang on juxtaposes American orchestral epics and catchy jazz numbers you would expect to hear Stan Getz on, all with seamless transitions allowing the listener to follow Pink Martini on a mosaic tour of world culture for exactly 53 minutes and 30 seconds.