Pink Martini Hang On Little Tomato

Just in case it wasn’t possible to tell from their name, Portland, Oregon’s Pink Martini play lounge-y jazz. Their debut album, Sympathetique, was released back in 1997 and has sold close to 750,000 copies, and since this follow-up appeared last year, the band have managed to shift half a million copies of it. Now it has been released in Canada, just in time for the band to appear at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, where they will no doubt win over a whole bunch of new fans. Hang On Little Tomato (the title comes from a 1960s ketchup advertisement in a magazine) is more of the same, with the 12-piece orchestra playing a variety of Cuban dance music, smooth jazz and other easy listening styles. It isn’t done in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way either — the music is performed earnestly with the voice of China Forbes proving to be the band’s most memorable feature. She is comfortable singing in any language and moves effortlessly between French, English and even Croatian. But while Hang On Little Tomato is an enjoyable listen, there’s nothing here that anyone who listens to easy listening jazz or lounge music won’t have heard a thousand time before. While their live show might be something special because there aren’t too many other bands doing the same thing, their records face much stiffer competition from a wealth of timeless releases from the golden age. (Independent)