Pink Martini – Hang On Little Tomato (2004)

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What with all of the bits of nasty weather, work deadlines, etc … a person can get just plain frazzled. So what’s needed on the drive to work is some romantic and swanky musings. Pink Martini definitely fits the bill.

The suave Oregon-based collective bravely mixes together influences from many, many genres to produce something completely unique. I can’t even give it a label. In fact, let’s not even try.

Just consider this giant array of instruments: trumpet, trombone, violin, cello, bass, guitar, mandolin, koto, harp (you know, the “angelic” kind), vibraphone, congas, drums, piano. Take that tonal palette and apply it to some bossa nova, samba, jazz and a pile of other genres. It’s very cool stuff, and somehow manages to relax and get the toes tappin’ at the same time.

Oh, and then there’s the delicious voice of China Forbes. In English and in French … I am enthralled. The title track, which reminds me of the classic “Louisiana Fairytale,” has a beautiful and winding melody that’s almost too good.

Pink Martini’s slant on their musical, uhmmm … “polyglotness,” is best summed up by founding member and pianist Thomas Lauderdale: “My hope is that we’re creating exquisite musical wallpaper which can be turned up or down, and played on almost any occasion, from background music to a love affair to vacuuming around the house.”

… or when driving to work on a snowy morning.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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